Twitter has announced new rules governing how they will now treat world leaders’ accounts, making clear that certain content will result in “enforcement action,” according to a Tuesday press release.
“There continues to be meaningful public conversation about how we think about Tweets from world leaders on our service. We welcome the conversation and want to share more context on our principles and process for reviewing reported Tweets from these accounts,” reads the statement.
When it comes to the actions of world leaders on Twitter, we recognize that this is largely new ground and unprecedented. We understand the desire for our decisions to be “yes/no” binaries, but it’s not that simple. The actions we take and policies we develop will set precedent around online speech and we owe it to the people we serve to be deliberate and considered in what we do.
Our mission is to provide a forum that enables people to be informed and to engage their leaders directly. We also have a responsibility to the people who use Twitter to better explain why we make the decisions we make, which we will do here. -Twitter
That said, world leaders are still to be afforded far greater leeway than the general population, as they state ” the accounts of world leaders are not above our policies entirely.”
For example, the following areas “will result in enforcement action for any account on our service” regardless of who it is:
- Promotion of terrorism;
- Clear and direct threats of violence against an individual (context matters: as noted above, direct interactions with fellow public figures and/or commentary on political and foreign policy issues would likely not result in enforcement);
- Posting private information, such as a home address or non-public personal phone number;
- Posting or sharing intimate photos or videos of someone that were produced or distributed without their consent;
- Engaging in behaviors relating to child sexual exploitation; and
- Encouraging or promoting self-harm.
Twitter says that in other cases involving world leaders, they will err on the side of leaving content up if there is a “clear public interest in doing so.”
“With critical elections and shifting political dynamics around the world, we recognize that we’re operating in an increasingly complex and polarized political culture. 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.
This post seeks to provide clear insight into how we address content from world leaders on Twitter today, and will serve as our statement on the decisions we make, rather than our teams providing feedback on individual Tweets and decisions. We’ve also updated our dedicated Help Center page to provide a significantly more detailed breakdown of how we make decisions regarding the use of the public interest notice.
Our goal is to enforce our rules judiciously and impartially. In doing so, we aim to provide direct insight into our enforcement decision-making, to serve public conversation, and protect the public’s right to hear from their leaders and to hold them to account.”
So just how long will it be before Twitter is strong-armed by Schiff et al. into leveraging these new rules to ban one of their most-followed users?