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- Some people think Twitter should suspend President Trump after a controversial tweet earlier this week that seemed to threaten nuclear action against North Korea.
- Twitter has not suspended Trump and it explained why in a blog post on Friday.
- Twitter says that people should be able to “see and debate” Trump’s tweets.
- Twitter also disputes the notion that it hasn’t taken action against Trump because his posts to the service are good for the company’s bottom line.
On Friday, Twitter published a short blog post explaining why it won’t be suspending President Trump’s personal Twitter account, though it did not mention him by name.
“Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets, would hide important information people should be able to see and debate,” the company wrote in Friday’s post. “It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.”
Twitter’s post came after President Trump made a provacative tweet on Tuesday night which seemed to threaten nuclear action against North Korea. The tweet reignited the debate over whether or not Twitter should suspend or otherwise take action against President Trump’s personal Twitter account.
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
Protestors outside of Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters earlier this week urged CEO Jack Dorsey to suspend Trump’s account, calling him “complicit” for not doing so.
“We review Tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly,” says Twitter’s post.
Basically: you might not agree with Trump’s tweets, but they are the from the president, so the rules are a little bit different than they are for other users.
Also of note is that Twitter’s blog post disputes a long-running criticism of the company, which is that it allows Trump to continue using the platform, even after perceived violations of its terms, because the response to his tweets drives usage of of the service.
“No one person’s account drives Twitter’s growth, or influences these decisions,” writes Twitter.
The post is not attributed to any Twitter executive or employee. Instead, it is credited to “Twitter, Inc.”
This is the first official response from Twitter on its policy regarding Trump and other world leaders. However, about a year ago, CEO Jack Dorsey explained his reasoning behind allowing Trump to keep using the social network.
“I think it’s really important that we maintain open channels to our leaders, whether we like what they’re saying or not, because I don’t know of another way to hold them accountable,” Dorsey told Backchannel in early 2017. “Any time we have any leader tweet, including Trump, there’s a very interesting and thriving conversation. A mixture of fact checking, disagreement, agreement, and some random things.”
There’s been a lot of discussion about political figures and world leaders on Twitter, and we want to share our stance.
Twitter is here to serve and help advance the global, public conversation. Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation because of their outsized impact on our society.
Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets, would hide important information people should be able to see and debate. It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.
We review Tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly. No one person’s account drives Twitter’s growth, or influences these decisions. We work hard to remain unbiased with the public interest in mind.
We are working to make Twitter the best place to see and freely discuss everything that matters. We believe that’s the best way to help our society make progress.
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