Big Tech moving to block Trump’s reach to public as election season heats up
OCTOBER 15, 2019
In a move surely meant to muzzle President Trump, Twitter has announced new rules for the accounts of world leaders, making clear that certain content will result in “enforcement action,” according to a press release.
“There continues to be meaningful public conversation about how we think about Tweets from world leaders on our service,” Twitter stated Tuesday. “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.”
Twitter then lays out their “Enforcement scenarios” that would limit a world leader’s account or the ability of users to share their posts.
“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 violence against 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 photos or 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.
“In other cases involving a world leader, we will err on the side of leaving the content up if there is a clear public interest in doing so.”
Notably, if Twitter believes a world leader violated these policies, the company will freeze other users’ ability interact with that leader’s post.
“We haven’t used this notice yet, but when we do, you will not be able to like, reply, share, or Retweet the Tweet in question,” Twitter stated. “You will still be able to express your opinion with Retweet with Comment.”
Though Twitter made a similar announcement back in June, these new restrictions are far more severe than simply “down-ranking” a post.
Democrats will likely pressure Twitter relentlessly to enforce these limitations on Trump because they’re triggered by everything he says or tweets.
2020 presidential candidate Kamala Harris already demanded that Twitter outright remove Trump’s account earlier this month because he could “harm” people with his words.
Other Democrats also called for Twitter to remove Trump’s account, including former DNC Deputy Chairman Keith Ellison and Rep. Jackie Speier (Calif.).
Regardless of what Democrats try to do, Twitter has clearly decided it will serve as the gatekeeper for what information you can and cannot disseminate from your elected leaders.
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