Twitter won't block world leaders, citing need for discourse

January 6, 2018

Twitter announced Friday it would not block the accounts of world leaders even if their statements are "controversial," citing a need to promote a "public conversation" on political issues.

The announcement came just days after a tweet from President Donald Trump hinting at the use of US sparked criticism that the social network was allowing threats of violence.

"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," the California-based company said in a blog post.

"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."

Twitter made no specific reference to Trump or his this week saying he has a "nuclear button" which is "bigger and more powerful" than that of North Korea's.

Some activists said Twitter should have banned Trump and one group projected images on the company's headquarters with a message "@jack is #complicit," a reference to chief executive Jack Dorsey and "Ban @realDonaldTrump."

The group called Resistance SF accused Dorsey of "endangering the world" and violating its own rules by not banning Trump.

Friday's announcement comes less than a month after Twitter began enforcing new rules aimed at filtering out "hateful" and "abusive" content on the social network, including messages which promote or glorify violence.

Twitter, which has struggled to maintain an open platform without allowing violence or hate speech, said at the time it would not cut off accounts for military or government entities.

Friday's statement left open the possibility however that Twitter could remove specific tweets from political leaders which violate its policies.

"We review tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly," the statement said.

"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."

Explore further: Trump won't get expanded tweet space, for now

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7 comments

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BendBob
4 / 5 (1) Jan 06, 2018
Really, we need to read foo from world leaders? It's probably Twitter's lack of $$$! Twit's are a bore now anyway. It has evolved to unsocial media, and reading foo is not worth it. So, goodbye, to you twit's
Benni
1 / 5 (2) Jan 07, 2018
This will really get the Antifa crowd in the USA all bent out of shape, this bunch does not like Trump circumventing their favorite leftwing media filter where so much convoluted pro-Communist propaganda originates.

Shakescene21
not rated yet Jan 07, 2018
Common sense from Twitter.
But regarding Donald Trump, he is his own worst enemy with his twitter outbursts. Twitter would have done him a favor by banning him.
ab3a
not rated yet Jan 07, 2018
I have always regarded Twitter as a headline service for the public. It is for people with very limited mental bandwidth. As such, I really don't care what becomes of it.

That said, presidents have always sought out new ways to reach out to their constituents. From Whistle-Stop tours on rail roads, to radio fireside chats from Roosevelt and so on. So in that respect, Trump's tweets are merely the latest effort to reach out to the public with modern technology. But I really wish he hadn't chosen Twitter...
Benni
not rated yet Jan 07, 2018
I have always regarded Twitter as a headline service for the public. It is for people with very limited mental bandwidth. As such, I really don't care what becomes of it.

That said, presidents have always sought out new ways to reach out to their constituents. From Whistle-Stop tours on rail roads, to radio fireside chats from Roosevelt and so on. So in that respect, Trump's tweets are merely the latest effort to reach out to the public with modern technology. But I really wish he hadn't chosen Twitter...


.........righto, should've been using the CNN filter instead.
Stelawr
5 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2018
Twitter is the biggest trash fire on the internet. They have no clue how to enforce anything whatsoever. Their claim is that they aim at filtering out "hateful" and "abusive" content, but then turn right around and freely allow blatant terrorists, white supremacists, tyrants, etc to use their services in order to incite hate and violence. On top of that, they go around banning accounts that have NOTHING wrong with them (like my space project for example), and proclaim they are doing some good in the world by doing so, with absolutely no explanation as to what happened or what went wrong. If people had any sense about them, they would leave Twitter like I have.
leetennant
not rated yet Jan 09, 2018
Common sense from Twitter.
But regarding Donald Trump, he is his own worst enemy with his twitter outbursts. Twitter would have done him a favor by banning him.


The problem is that this particular tweet upped the real-world response from North Korea.

Look, I'm on the fence about how Twitter deals with things like this. Trump's account is the only one run by a world leader that looks like this. It's absolutely insane that the White House didn't insist he shut it down or hand it over to a staffer once he was elected. How do you deal with an outlier from a crazy person? Establish a precedent of banning an elected leader's account because people don't like what he's saying? No, you can't. But you also can't ignore the impact his insane inanities have in the real world.

It's a stumper, frankly.

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