More characters on Trump.
Image: vicky leta/mashable
Twitter wants to be absolutely clear to everyone what’s a good tweet and what’s a bad tweet.
And by good and bad tweets, we mean offensive and breaking Twitter’s rules. And by everyone, we mean President Donald Trump and the people, like myself, who asked why he hasn’t been banned especially after he threatened nuclear war via the platform.
On Tuesday, Twitter updated its Help Center to include details on how Twitter reviews content and enforces its own rules.
Within the update is a lengthy explanation on the importance of newsworthiness. That factor is considered for “very important” Twitter users like President Trump. Here’s the explanation at the beginning of the section:
To help ensure people have an opportunity to see every side of an issue, there may be the rare occasion when we allow controversial content or behavior which may otherwise violate our Rules to remain on our service because we believe there is a legitimate public interest in its availability. Each situation is evaluated on a case by case basis and ultimately decided upon by a cross-functional team.
And here’s where Twitter explains that while a “very important” Twitter user’s account could remain, an individual tweet could be deleted:
Some people, groups, organizations and the content they post on Twitter may be considered a topic of legitimate public interest by virtue of their being in the public consciousness. This does not mean that their Tweets will always remain on the service. Rather, we will consider if there is a legitimate public interest for a particular Tweet to remain up so it can be openly discussed.
The policy is complex and quite nuanced. But again, that’s not surprising for a social platform that promotes free speech. Here’s the short version: It’s a case by case basis.
While Twitter’s decision-making here isn’t new, this level of transparency is — and comes after years of confusion. Last week, Twitter faced backlash for verifying white supremacist Jason Kessler. Twitter ended up temporarily pausing its verification program until it can better articulate what it means to be verified. (Hint: Not an endorsement for white supremacy.)
As for President Trump on Twitter, a company spokesperson shared its “newsworthiness” policy in a statement last month in response to calls for Twitter to take action against the president’s account for threatening North Korea.
“This has long been internal policy and we’ll soon update our public-facing rules to reflect it,” Twitter cofounder Biz Stone wrote in a blog post. “We need to do better on this, and will.”
And now we have it. On Tuesday, Twitter posted two tweets on the “factors” they consider when reviewing reported tweets. The tweets linked to the new articles in Twitter’s Help Center.
These messages followed a tweet Monday that announced Twitter had launched a new system to rank reports of content that violates its terms.
Twitter doesn’t disclose exactly how it chooses to prioritize. When asked if sexual harassment or graphic violence would rank higher, a Twitter spokesperson said Monday the company was not sharing more at this time.