Twitter has indeed looked to explain its guidelines around tweets from prominent users which in fact abuse its principles, yet which it allows because it may be in public interest. So, say a President sends out an offensive tweet, it may be a political matter which may be beneficiary to the public and subject to political investigations. This means that that tweet will remain on Twitter but the other side is that if you were to send such a tweet, you could be suspended.
Under Twitter’s new rules, you may no longer be able to just retweet such tweets from VIP users but you’ll still be able to quote the tweet. To further sort of punish such leaders, their followers won’t be able to in addition to not being able to retweet, like. reply or share such tweets.
Twitter shared a similar guideline back in June, after rehashed calls for it to make a move against tweets from US President Donald Trump. Twitter has not made a move against Trump’s, or some other counterpart’s tweets, yet it has been thoroughly considering how it can apply its standard exemptions in an all the more reasonable and adjusted way.
In post titled World Leaders on Twitter: principles & approach, the company said;
There continues to be meaningful public conversation about how we think about Tweets from world leaders on our service. We welcome the conversation and want to share more context on our principles and process for reviewing reported Tweets from these accounts.
When it comes to the actions of world leaders on Twitter, we recognize that this is largely new ground and unprecedented. We understand the desire for our decisions to be “yes/no” binaries, but it’s not that simple. The actions we take and policies we develop will set precedent around online speech and we owe it to the people we serve to be deliberate and considered in what we do.
Our mission is to provide a forum that enables people to be informed and to engage their leaders directly. We also have a responsibility to the people who use Twitter to better explain why we make the decisions we make, which we will do here.
- Everything we do starts with an understanding of our purpose and of the service we provide: a place where people can participate in public conversation and get informed about the world around them.
- We assess reported Tweets from world leaders against the Twitter Rules, which are designed to ensure people can participate in the public conversation freely and safely.
- We focus on the language of reported Tweets and do not attempt to determine all potential interpretations of the content or its intent.
- Presently, 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 Twitter Rules.
- However, if a Tweet from a world leader does violate the Twitter Rules but there is a clear public interest value to keeping the Tweet on the service, we may place it behind a notice that provides context about the violation and allows people to click through should they wish to see the content. We announced this in June.
We want to make it clear today that the accounts of world leaders are not above our policies entirely. The below areas will result in enforcement action for any account on our service (without consideration of the potential public interest value in allowing the Tweet to remain visible behind a notice):
- Promotion of terrorism;
- Clear and direct threats of violenceagainst an individual (context matters: as noted above, direct interactions with fellow public figures and/or commentary on political and foreign policy issues would likely not result in enforcement);
- Posting private information, such as a home address or non-public personal phone number;
- Posting or sharing intimate photosor videos of someone that were produced or distributed without their consent;
- Engaging in behaviors relating to child sexual exploitation; and
- Encouraging or promoting self-harm.
Twitter’s unmistakably as yet feeling the weight from users especially civil society groups looking for an action against hate speech no matter the person tweeting it out, however as Twitter notes, it only had to use applied the public-interest exception rule less than five times in 2018 but haven’t applied it in 2019 so far. Even in light of some seemingly offensive tweets by some leaders, Twitter doesn’t think they have risen to censure point. Put simply, you get barred or suspended easily when you’re not a world leader because your views may not be in public interest.
Essentially, except if a world head or comparative truly goes too far, Twitter’s most likely not going to make a move. So, don’t be too disturbed when they disrupt the guidelines and apparently pull off it.
Is that the correct methodology? It’s difficult to state – on one hand, Twitter can give an association between world leaders and their constituents like no other stage is capable. That can be immensely advantageous – however on the other hand, it could likewise be utilized for negative purposes, such as spreading contempt and powering division.
Depending on your view of this, the basic underlying point is that world leaders are supposed to lead by example and the truth is that many of us have never been in this situation before in the Twitter age in that people will be calling publicly for the suspension of somebody like the US President’s Twitter account suspension over some retweeting a right wing conspiracy theory or asking elected members of a political party who are citizens to go back to their countries or even calling some other nations shit holes.
The move though could send a message to world leaders that even social media is beginning to come up with ways to rebuke even the VIPs among us.