Twitter: Banning President Trump's Account Would Limit Public Discourse

After Twitter users called on the social media platform to ban President Donald Trump over his bellicose tweets, the company issued a statement reiterating its position on “world leaders on Twitter.”

“Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets, would hide important information people should be able to see and debate,” the statement read. “It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.”

The company included a paragraph that suggested it wasn’t letting Trump off the hook. “We review Tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly … No one person’s account drives Twitter’s growth, or influences these decisions. We work hard to remain unbiased with the public interest in mind.”

Earlier this week, Trump bragged that he had a “bigger and more powerful” hypothetical nuclear button than Kim Jong-Un, seemingly heightening the risk of a prospective nuclear winter. Commentators and the general public expressed anxiety about Trump’s behavior, according to the New York Times, and some suggested that this sort of a tweet violated the service’s terms of service. A spokeswoman for the company told the Times on Wednesday that the tweet had not violated the policies, which cover “specific” threats.

Previously, Twitter said there were no exceptions to its policies, with regard to whom they apply, and all users face the same consequences. 

Twitter has banned certain white supremacists and, famously, the antagonistic writer Milo Yiannopoulos who targeted Saturday Night Live actress Leslie Jones, for harassment. Some extremists, such as David Duke and Richard Spencer, still have accounts on the service.

Twitter’s full statement about “World Leaders on Twitter”

There’s been a lot of discussion about political figures and world leaders on Twitter, and we want to share our stance.

Twitter is here to serve and help advance the global, public conversation. Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation because of their outsized impact on our society.

Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets, would hide important information people should be able to see and debate. It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.

We review Tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly. No one person’s account drives Twitter’s growth, or influences these decisions. We work hard to remain unbiased with the public interest in mind.

We are working to make Twitter the best place to see and freely discuss everything that matters. We believe that’s the best way to help our society make progress.

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