Published: Sat, January 06, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Twitter won't block world leaders, citing need for discourse

Twitter won't block world leaders, citing need for discourse

The statement comes after some Twitter users have called on the company to ban President Trump for tweets that they say encourage violence, even stoking fears of a nuclear war between the US and North Korea.

The debate over Trump's tweets grew on Wednesday, when he tweeted that he had a "much bigger" nuclear button than North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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In that tweet Trump made a veiled threat to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, who a day earlier opened the New Year with his own defiant statement calling to speed up the deployment of nuclear weapons.

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Twitter had already said in September that "newsworthiness" and whether a tweet is "of public interest" are among the factors it considers before removing an account or a tweet.

"We review tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly", the statement said.

Without mentioning Trump by name, Twitter said in a blog post that political figures and world leaders "play a critical role" in public conversations "because of their outsized impact on our society". No one person's account drives Twitter's growth, or influences these decisions.

The comments prompted complaints that Twitter was providing Mr Trump with a "bully pulpit" and the president contravened its terms and conditions that addressed violence and threats. "We believe that's the best way to help our society make progress", it said.

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Shortly after users reported the tweet, Twitter responded, confirming Trump's tweet did not violate the platform's rules against abusive behavior.

Senators Martin Heinrich and Ron Wyden asked the Director of National Intelligence, Daniel Coats, to "assess the risk to the United States and to U.S. interests and personnel" arising from a tweet Trump posted on January 2.

While plenty of Trump's older tweets dabble in online harassment, it sounds like anything goes for world leaders so long as they're elected.

Despite the countless times he's violated Twitter's terms of service, Donald Trump remains on the social media site with no repercussions for his actions.

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