Twitter Clarifies What World Leaders Are Not Allowed to Tweet

“Clear and direct” threats of violence and promotion of terrorism are among rule violations leaders are not exempt from

Last Updated: October 15, 2019 @ 4:16 PM

In a blog post Tuesday, Twitter said “world leaders are not above our policies entirely,” and detailed circumstances the company says would lead it to take action against them.

In the post, Twitter said it “will err on the side of leaving the content up if there is a clear public interest in doing so” even if tweets by world leaders otherwise violate content policies. But as announced in June, such posts would be placed “behind a notice providing context about the rule violation,” and steps would be taken to reduce the tweet’s algorithmic reach.

However, Twitter identified 6 kinds of content that would result in “enforcement action” regardless of any public interest: promotion of terrorism; “Twitter Clarifies What World Leaders Are Not Allowed to Tweet” threats against individuals; posting home addresses, non public phone numbers or other private information; “intimate photos or video” shared or posted without consent; “behaviors relating to child sexual exploitation”; and “encouraging or promoting self-harm.”

Twitter also clarified that “context matters” when it comes to threatening tweets, and that direct interactions between public figures or “commentary on political and foreign policy issues” would likely be exempted.

“With critical elections and shifting political dynamics around the world, we recognize that we’re operating in an increasingly complex and polarized political culture,” Twitter added. “These are constantly evolving challenges and we’ll keep our policies and approach under advisement, particularly as we learn more about the relationship between Tweets from world leaders and the potential for offline harm.”

The clarification updates a policy announced in 2018, that Twitter would not ban world leaders that violate its rules, but “would hide important information people should be able to see and debate,” after President Trump warned North Korean leader Kim Jong-un he had a nuclear button, too, but “it is a much bigger and more powerful one that his, and my Button works!”

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