Twitter may have finally found a way to combat Donald Trump’s constant flouting of the site’s rules, without resorting to deleting his tweets.
The company is adding a new label to offending tweets from political and world leaders, which will call out the content as ‘abusive behaviour’. The solution, which will hide the tweet from view initially, will be applied when Twitter decides that deleting the tweet is not in the public interest.
In these instances, the tweet will only become visible if users decide they want to click through and read what The Donald and his ilk have to say.
Already being dubbed ‘The Trump Rule’, the new label will read: “The Twitter Rules about abusive behaviour apply to this Tweet. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain available.”
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Twitter has often faced criticism over the perceived hypocrisy of allowing the US president to insult rivals and allegedly incite hatred without censure, while mere mortals face account suspensions for similar offences.
The new label could suit all parties (except Trump, obviously) and enable Twitter to say it is doing something about the offending tweets, while maintaining free speech and avoiding accusations of censorship from Trump advocates.
The rule applies to verified individuals with more than 10,000 followers, who must “be or represent a government official, be running for public office, or be considered for a government position (i.e., next in line, awaiting confirmation, named successor to an appointed position).”
So yeah. Trump.
In a blog post, Twitter said that rule flouting that doesn’t serve the public interest will be treated more severely. “There are cases, such as direct threats of violence or calls to commit violence against an individual, that are unlikely to be considered in the public interest,” the company said.
Consider that a warning, Don. Even if you do have “the best words”, Twitter’s gonna hide them if you don’t learn to behave yourself.