Twitter explains why it won't ban Donald Trump

by Garry Watts January 9, 2018, 1:54

Twitter Inc. said it will not block world leaders from its social media platform because they play a critical role in global and public conversations.

In September, after anger over Trump's tweet that North Korea "won't be around much longer", Twitter had refused to take it down and said the statement was "newsworthy" and in public interest.

This tweet and many others have drawn harsh criticism of the USA president and his use of the website, as well as Twitter's own policy. "Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation due to their outsized impact on our society", the California-based company said in a blog post.

"Elected world leaders play a crucial role in that conversation due to their outsized impact on our society", Twitter said a statement posted on its site.

The company also sought to counter assertions that controversial figures like Mr. Trump were kept on the platform largely because they helped Twitter's bottom line.

"No one person's account drives Twitter's growth, or influences these decisions".

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Twitter has been under pressure to rein in Trump, who has been accused of inciting violence and raising nuclear tensions with North Korea using his favorite mode of communication.

Many critics said they believed Mr. Trump's recent posts violated Twitter's terms of service, which prohibit messages that threaten violence, death or physical harm.

"After the tweet, protesters directed their scorn at Twitter and its chief executive, Jack Dorsey, by projecting an image onto the company's San Francisco headquarters that read, "@jack is #complicit".

Trump's tweets that have insulted women and his retweet of an anti-Muslim post have caused repeated uproars among its users.

Twitter has made some efforts in other areas, particularly in cracking down on hate speech from far-right groups, but there are still some major questions remaining in terms of how threats from a major world leader against a country, however vague, are dealt with on the platform.

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