Twitter is going to start labelling tweets from government officials and world leaders which have violated the platform’s rules but haven’t been removed as they are in public interest. The move comes as calls continue to grow for president Donald Trump to be banned from the microblogging site.
Politicians like Trump have got away with making several comments that violate Twitter’s rules over the years, and Twitter has always stated these tweets sit above its general rules on the basis of newsworthiness.
To make its approach to political content clearer, the social media platform will begin placing a notice in front of tweets that violate its rules, but it deems to be in public interest. Users will have to click or tap through to view these marked tweets.
Tweets that receive a notice will not appear in safe search, top tweets, live events page, recommended tweet push notifications, the notifications tab, and Explore.
Notices will only be handed to tweets that are from government officials, some running for public office, or those considered for a government position. They must have more than 100,00 followers and be verified.
“By nature of their positions these leaders have outsized influence and sometimes say things that could be considered controversial or invite debate and discussion. A critical function of our service is providing a place where people can openly and publicly respond to their leaders and hold them accountable,” said the Twitter Safety team in a blog post.
“With this in mind, there are certain cases where it may be in the public’s interest to have access to certain Tweets, even if they would otherwise be in violation of our rules.”
Though Twitter is laxer on politicians, it says that direct threats of violence or calls to commit violence against an individual would be “unlikely to be considered in the public interest”.
A team made up of members of Twitter’s trust and safety, legal, public policy, and regional teams will be tasked with deciding which tweets deserve to receive labelling. They will have to take into account the immediacy and severity of potential harm from the rule violation, if keeping the tweet will enable the politician to be held to account, and the context of the tweet.