Twitter explains why it hasn't suspended Trump's account

Twitter will continue to take a forgiving approach to objectionable tweets by world leaders, arguing that their messages are often of public interest....

Posted: Oct 16, 2019 9:31 AM
Updated: Oct 16, 2019 10:15 AM

Twitter will continue to take a forgiving approach to objectionable tweets by world leaders, arguing that their messages are often of public interest.

The social media platform sought to clarify its rules for politicians Tuesday after coming under pressure from Senator Kamala Harris, a Democratic presidential candidate, to suspend President Donald Trump's account.

'We want to make it clear today that the accounts of world leaders are not above our policies entirely,' Twitter said in a blog post, adding that part of its mission is to allow people to 'engage their leaders directly.'

Twitter said it was sticking to a policy first laid out in June.

Under those rules, tweets by world leaders that violate the platform's policies will stay online if they have a 'clear public interest value.' In some cases, Twitter will place the tweet behind a note that provides context.

It said 'direct interactions with fellow public figures, comments on political issues of the day, or foreign policy saber-rattling on economic or military issues are generally not in violation' of the rules.

Yet the company has drawn some red lines that apply even to world leaders. It will take action if tweets promote terrorism, include private information or intimate photos, engage in child sexual exploitation or promote self-harm.

Twitter will also act when direct threats of violence are made against an individual. However, it said that 'context matters' and that interactions between public figures would likely not qualify.

'We recognize that we're operating in an increasingly complex and polarized political culture,' the blog post said. 'These are constantly evolving challenges and we'll keep our policies and approach under advisement.'

The Trump tweets

Twitter has come under intense pressure from Democrats to crack down on Trump's tweets, and calls for action have grown louder in recent weeks after Trump used his account to attack key figures in the impeachment probe underway in the House of Representatives. The company has not yet labeled any of the president's tweets as violating its policies.

Harris has meanwhile sought to make Trump's Twitter account a campaign issue. The former attorney general of California said in a letter earlier this month to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that the president had broken the platform's rules by using his account to 'target' and 'harass' the whistleblower at the center of the Ukraine scandal.

She returned to the issue during Tuesday's CNN/New York Times Democratic Presidential Debate, calling for a suspension of Trump's account and saying it had been used to 'openly intimidate and threaten witnesses.'

In her letter to Dorsey, Harris singled out a series of messages Trump posted in late September relating to the whistleblower who sparked the investigation into the White House's activities in Ukraine.

'Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called 'Whistleblower,' represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way,' Trump tweeted on September 29.

In a related tweet, Trump suggested the whistleblower was a spy.

When Trump used racist language to attack four Democratic congresswomen in July, a Twitter spokesperson told CNN Business the posts did not break the company's rules despite their prohibition on 'targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category.'

-- Donie O'Sullivan contributed to this report.

Terre Haute
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 43°
Robinson
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 40°
Indianapolis
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 47°
Rockville
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 48°
Casey
Partly Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 53°
Brazil
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 43°
Marshall
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 43°
Weekend Showers
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1361569

Reported Deaths: 24671
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook54504110100
DuPage905031279
Will75456990
Lake67145988
Kane58349771
Winnebago33178474
Madison30500519
McHenry28573285
St. Clair27847513
Peoria23094310
Champaign20618145
Sangamon18724234
McLean18138179
Tazewell16938287
Rock Island14970314
Kankakee14176210
Kendall1303893
LaSalle12536243
Macon10750199
DeKalb9856119
Vermilion9628132
Adams8452123
Williamson7428129
Whiteside7160171
Boone669972
Ogle611181
Grundy588775
Clinton575790
Coles568695
Knox5553145
Jackson502464
Henry497066
Livingston481785
Stephenson475381
Woodford473976
Effingham472972
Macoupin469782
Marion4472115
Franklin444874
Monroe435793
Jefferson4291120
Lee416552
Randolph412984
Fulton391955
Morgan388981
Logan386958
Montgomery371974
Bureau371682
Christian365973
Fayette317455
Perry316960
Iroquois301866
McDonough284847
Jersey268949
Douglas258835
Saline256454
Lawrence240525
Shelby229537
Union226040
Crawford211626
Bond204824
Cass199125
Jo Daviess181024
Clark179933
Warren179746
Pike178852
Ford178246
Wayne177553
Hancock175931
Carroll175136
Richland175140
Edgar170239
White169626
Washington164525
Moultrie161028
De Witt150824
Mason150745
Piatt149714
Clay148143
Mercer146933
Johnson143915
Greene143633
Wabash134612
Massac133940
Cumberland129019
Menard123412
Jasper115018
Marshall106918
Hamilton83315
Schuyler7536
Brown7046
Pulaski6887
Stark63723
Edwards56912
Henderson52514
Calhoun5182
Putnam4823
Scott4781
Alexander46811
Gallatin4584
Hardin38612
Pope3204
Out of IL20
Unassigned02351

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 732692

Reported Deaths: 13450
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1002531746
Lake53931975
Allen40779678
St. Joseph35838552
Hamilton35695408
Elkhart28695442
Tippecanoe22419219
Vanderburgh22332397
Porter18838309
Johnson18007379
Hendricks17269315
Clark13007191
Madison12708339
Vigo12470248
LaPorte11970212
Monroe11914170
Delaware10720186
Howard9946216
Kosciusko9438117
Hancock8310141
Bartholomew8078156
Warrick7789155
Floyd7672178
Grant7072174
Wayne7061199
Boone6712101
Morgan6593139
Dubois6162117
Marshall6073111
Cass5826105
Dearborn581878
Henry5758103
Noble562784
Jackson502773
Shelby493196
Lawrence4563120
Harrison436372
Gibson436092
DeKalb429285
Clinton427953
Montgomery425089
Whitley397139
Huntington392980
Steuben389457
Miami382267
Knox372690
Jasper368248
Putnam361660
Wabash354580
Adams341954
Ripley340170
Jefferson331281
White314854
Daviess298199
Wells291881
Decatur285492
Fayette281262
Greene279785
Posey271933
LaGrange267870
Scott266954
Clay260547
Washington241632
Randolph241181
Spencer232431
Jennings230449
Starke217154
Fountain213046
Sullivan212042
Owen201956
Jay196330
Fulton195540
Carroll189420
Orange184154
Perry183537
Rush173725
Vermillion169643
Franklin168435
Tipton163045
Parke146416
Blackford135132
Pike134934
Pulaski116945
Newton108134
Brown102441
Crawford100615
Benton98914
Martin89015
Warren82215
Switzerland7938
Union71010
Ohio57111
Unassigned0417