Twitter announced Thursday that it will add a notice over politicians’ tweets if the social network deems the tweet to violate its rules. The new system is effective immediately.
“In the past, we’ve allowed certain tweets that violated our rules to remain on Twitter because they were in the public’s interest, but it wasn’t clear when and how we made those determinations,” the company said in the blog post. “To fix that, we’re introducing a new notice that will provide additional clarity in these situations, and sharing more on when and why we’ll use it.”
This new feature will apply to all government officials, or those running for office, who have 100,000 followers or more and have verified accounts. Twitter’s guidelines are extensive and broad, but specifically ban violent threats, targeted harassment, and “hateful conduct.”
Instead of encountering an offending tweet in your timeline, you’ll now see a notice stating that it has violated Twitter’s rules instead of the tweet itself. Users will have to click through the warning in order to see the original tweet. Twitter will also make sure that these potentially harmful tweets aren’t spread to millions of users via its algorithm.
Tweets that have been flagged under the new system will also not appear in Twitter’s safe search mode, on your timeline when you’re viewing Top Tweets, on live events pages, in push notifications, in the notifications tab, or under the Explore feature.
While Twitter did not specifically call out President Donald Trump in the blog post, the new rules are all but certainly aimed at him. As Twitter’s single most visible user, Trump’s behavior on the platform has long been a sticking point for the company — especially when he attacks other world leaders or political rivals. That said, the new rules only apply from this point forward — meaning past tweets won’t be flagged under the new system.
“In instances where a Tweet violates our rules and our review doesn’t find that it would be in the public interest to leave it up, we will require the account owner to remove the Tweet,” Twitter wrote. “Either way, this notice will make our decision-making clearer.”
Trump claimed during a Wednesday interview that Twitter was purposely limiting the reach of his tweets and making it harder for people to follow his account.
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