Amid requests to terminate President Donald Trump’s account from its platform, Twitter on Tuesday said that it would continue to be lenient with world leaders who appeared to violate its policies against violent speech.
“We want to make it clear that the accounts of world leaders are not above our policies entirely,” Twitter said in a blog post.
“Presently, direct interactions with fellow public figures, comments on political issues of the day, or foreign policy saber-rattling on economic or military issues are generally not in violation of the Twitter Rules,” read the blog.
It added: “However, if a Tweet from a world leader does violate the Twitter Rules but there is a clear public interest value to keeping the Tweet on the service, we may place it behind a notice that provides context about the violation and allows people to click through should they wish to see the content.”
Twitter also clarified that it would only initiate action against a world leader if it was used to threaten an individual, promote terrorism or self-harm, or post private information like a phone number or address.
“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,” Twitter said.
The new guidelines came two weeks after Senator Kamala Harris of California, a Democratic presidential contender, urged Twitter to suspend Trump’s account, claiming that his online communications “put people at risk and our democracy in danger.”
Twitter has been under growing pressure since a whistle-blower complaint emerged last month about Trump’s alleged inappropriate interactions with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky. The complaint alleged that President abused his power by pushing Zelensky to “look into” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son.
Since then, the House has initiated a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump, which prompted the President to tweet a string of messages that some have called ‘threatening and bullying.’