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- Some people say Twitter should suspend President Donald Trump’s account after a controversial tweet earlier this week seemed to threaten nuclear action against North Korea.
- Twitter explained in a blog post on Friday why it hadn’t suspended Trump’s account, saying people “should be able to see and debate” his tweets.
- Twitter also disputed the notion that it hadn’t taken action against Trump because his tweets are good for the company’s bottom line.
On Friday, Twitter published a short blog post explaining why it won’t be suspending President Donald Trump’s personal 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 post said. “It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.”
A provocative tweet on Tuesday night from Trump that some perceived as threatening nuclear action against North Korea reignited the debate over whether Twitter should suspend or take other action against the president’s 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
At the time, Twitter said the tweet did not violate its terms of service.
People protesting outside Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters earlier this week urged CEO Jack Dorsey to suspend Trump’s account, calling Dorsey “complicit” for not doing so.
“We review Tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly,” Twitter’s blog post says.
Basically: You might not agree with Trump’s tweets, but since they are the from the US president, the rules are a little bit different from those for other users.
Also of note is that the blog post disputes a long-running criticism that Twitter allows Trump to continue using the platform even after perceived violations of its terms because the response to his tweets drives people to use the service.
“No one person’s account drives Twitter’s growth, or influences these decisions,” the post says.
The post is attributed not to any Twitter executive or employee, but to “Twitter, Inc.”
This is the first official response from Twitter on its policy regarding Trump and other world leaders. Last year, however, Dorsey explained his reasoning for 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 April. “Anytime 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.”