News World Why Twitter won’t ban Trump despite his threatening tweets

Why Twitter won’t ban Trump despite his threatening tweets

Twitter said Donald Trump's tweet does not violate rules because it's "newsworthy". Photo: Getty
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US President Donald Trump has effectively been given carte blanche by his favourite social media platform to tweet what he likes, after questions were raised about his threatening tone.

Twitter said it would not remove Mr Trump’s tweet threatening North Korea because it was “newsworthy” and in the public interest.

Since whatever the President of the United States says was likely to be in the public interest in some respect, as long as he held that position it seemed unlikely Mr Trump’s account would be censored or shut down by the platform.

Over the weekend, the US President tweeted that if North Korean leaders continued to make provocative statements, “they won’t be around for much longer”.

Twitter said a number of users had asked why it had not removed the tweet.

In a statement, Twitter said: “We hold all accounts to the same rules, and consider a number of factors when assessing whether tweets violate our rules. Among the considerations is ‘newsworthiness’ and whether a tweet is of public interest.

“This has long been internal policy and we’ll soon update our public-facing rules to reflect it. We need to do better on this, and will.

“Twitter is committed to transparency and keeping people informed about what’s happening in the world. We’ll continue to be guided by these fundamental principles.”

Tensions have been rising between Mr Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in recent weeks.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told the UN General Assembly over the weekend targeting the US mainland with its rockets was inevitable after Mr Trump called the North Korean leader a “rocket man on a suicide mission”.

Trump’s previous attacks tested harassment policy

Twitter reserved the right under its existing policy to remove content and disable accounts that posted violent threats or harassment, and ever since Mr Trump began campaigning for the presidency, many had asked how some of his more rapacious tweets had not run afoul of this policy.

Incidents which drew complaints on Twitter included Mr Trump posting a doctored video of him body slamming CNN, and his attacks on morning TV hosts Joe Scarborough and Mike Brzenzinski.

He also retweeted a mock-up video of him hitting a golf ball into Hillary Clinton.

The company had previously declined to respond directly to pressure to shut down his account or block certain tweets, pointing to company policy not to comment on the individual actions of private accounts.