Twitter is defending its decision not to remove a controversial tweet by President Donald Trump on Saturday that targeted North Korea, in a six-tweet response to critics who argued that Trump violated the platform’s rules.
Listening to North Korean officials speaking at the United Nations, Trump over the weekend tweeted what some interpreted as a threat directed toward the country:
“Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”
Twitter’s rules prohibit violent threats, some users pointed out, arguing that the Trump tweet fell into that category.
But Twitter said it would not remove the tweet or suspend Trump’s account. In its response Monday, the social media company said that it takes a number of factors into account when faced with controversial user-generated content, including its “newsworthiness:”
“This has long been internal policy and we’ll soon update our public-facing rules to reflect it. We need to do better on this, and will”
The thread marks Twitter’s clearest explanation yet for its stance toward Trump, despite repeated calls from some users that the president’s account be banned. Last month, Kal Penn, the actor and former aide to Barack Obama, urged Twitter to take stronger measures after Trump warned North Korea that the U.S. military was “locked and loaded.” And on another occasion, Trump tweeted a video of himself beating somebody up outside of a wrestling ring, with the victim’s face obscured by CNN’s logo – giving the impression that Trump was physically assaulting the news network.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Brian Fung