- Twitter says it is working on labelling tweets from public figures that violate its rules.
- Twitter sometimes leaves up tweets from public figures, such as US President Trump, that break its rules because it considers them newsworthy.
- At an event this week, Twitter’s head of legal, policy, and trust said leaving these posts up could make other users think they could post similar content.
Twitter says it is working on labelling individual tweets from public figures, like US President Donald Trump, that violate its rules.
When public figures post tweets that violate Twitter’s usual rules – for example on bullying – Twitter will often leave them up because it believes this kind of content is newsworthy.
During an interview at a Washington Post-sponsored event this week, however, Twitter’s head of legal, policy, and trust, Vijaya Gadde, said the problem with this was that it could inspire other users to break rules.
She was asked about Trump specifically but talked in general terms about public figures. “Today when we leave that content on the platform there’s no context around that,” Gadde said. “It just lives on Twitter and people can see it and they just assume that that’s the type of content or behaviour that’s allowed by our rules.”
She said Twitter’s engineers were working on a way to label individual tweets in an attempt to combat this. “One of the things we’re working really closely on with our product and engineering folks is, how can we label that,” she said, adding: “How can we put some context around it so people are aware that that content is actually in violation of our rules?”
She gave a specific example that users might need to “click through” to see a tweet that falls under Twitter’s category for “dehumanization.”
Trump’s behaviour on Twitter has been a conundrum for the company, as critics have said the social-media firm should boot him off the platform for breaking its rules on bullying. One example includes his referring to his former staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman as a “dog.”
Gadde said the firm did have a line beyond which it would take down content from public figures – for example, if they make a violent threat against someone.
A Twitter spokesman has confirmed the company is exploring ways to provide more context around tweets.
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