Some of President Trump's tweets may soon come with a trigger warning. But in the "rare" cases in which those tweets go against Twitter's policies on hate speech, bullying or harassment, the company said it would take stronger steps to "manage the harm that the tweets can cause".
On Thursday, the San Francisco-based tech giant announced a new plan meant to blunt the impact of tweets from politicians and government officials that violate its policies while still leaving the problematic content on the platform.
Individuals who meet the criteria for Twitter's new policy to flag objectionable content include President Donald Trump, Rep.
When a tweet is assigned this disclaimer, users will have to click through before they can see the tweet in question. The new policy applies only to users who are government officials (or represent them), are running for public office, or are being considered for a government position. The abusive tweets will be ranked down by algorithms as well, thereby getting fewer views. But this still marks a significant shift in Twitter's attitude towards managing tweets from world leaders.
Jennifer Grygiel, a social media expert and professor at Syracuse University, said Twitter "obviously" enacted the new policy because of Trump's Twitter activity. "We're going to start using a new notice to make it clear when we make these decisions".
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If it sounds like Twitter is about to embark on a new mode of censorship, that's because it is.
Tweets affected by the new measure will remain on the site, but will not appear in searches or be recommended to users through any of Twitter's algorithmic channels. Tweets with the label will also be hidden from live event pages and Twitter's algorithmically curated "Top Tweets" version of the timeline.
Interested in Twitter? Add Twitter as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Twitter news, video, and analysis from ABC News. When she was introduced to Trump, "He took my hand, and grabbed me, and went for the lips", she told The Guardian newspaper in October 2016.
Even as Trump attacks online platforms, his critics have claimed that he violates the terms of service of Twitter by attacking and insulting judges, media, sports figures and others with whom he disagrees. "However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain available".
Over time, public interest and how it's defined on Twitter may change as we observe different types of behavior. However the platform notes that it is unlikely that direct threats of violence or calls to commit violence will be fall under public interest.
Traditionally, sites like Twitter and Facebook have preferred to think of themselves as neutral platforms that host a wide range of content without necessarily endorsing any of it.