Twitter Officially Responds to Calls That Trump’s Tweet Threatening North Korea Should Be Taken Down -- Trump Suspended

North Korea is claiming that President Trump issued a declaration of war on Twitter:

The White House rejected this today, and earlier today BuzzFeed filed a report on whether this violated Twitter’s terms of service.

(Related: White House blasts North Korea’s claim that President Trump declared war)

BuzzFeed received a response from Twitter that said they don’t “comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons.”

Essentially Buzzfeed tattled on the President of the United States.

Hours after that report dropped, Twitter’s public policy account posted a tweet thread responding to people asking why they haven’t taken down that tweet from the President:

Twitter’s answer, however, basically implies that Trump’s account will never be censored. Anything the President tweets is newsworthy, which means that none of his tweets can be pulled from the platform.

This kind of problem — minus the war threats — isn’t entirely unique to Twitter. Facebook has run into this issue from the other side: it was criticized last year for banning an iconic war photo because it otherwise violated the site’s terms of service. Facebook ultimately backtracked and decided to consider the “history and global importance” of the photo and suggested, to some extent, that consideration would extend to other posts.

(Related: Sessions to declare free speech ‘under attack’ at universities, in shot at political correctness)

Twitter’s newsworthiness standard makes plenty of sense, but it could present the platform with some issues. It’ll have to start deciding who else’s tweets qualify as newsworthy. It’ll also have to take this into consideration when a private individual’s tweet blows up — is that tweet suddenly newsworthy too? Twitter implies that it’s been factoring this in all along, but now that it’s planning to lay this out in a public-facing document, it’ll be easier for visitors to tell how consistently it’s being applied.


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