Could Twitter Dump Trump? Under the Right Circumstances, Twitter Legal Chief Says
In advance of testifying in front of Congress on Wednesday, Twitter legal and policy chief Vijaya Gadde said that the social network could ban President Donald Trump. In an interview Tuesday alongside Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey with Politico, Gadde said that the network’s exemption for political leaders’ speech isn’t unbounded.
He told Politico that even though the company allows tweets that are newsworthy but otherwise violate its rules, that policy “is not a blanket exception for the president or anyone else.” When asked for additional comment, a Twitter spokesperson told Fortune that it nothing to add outside the reported remarks.
Dorsey said that he receives notifications whenever Trump tweets, but he declined to tell Politico in any detail about what sort of action Trump would have to take that would get him removed.
A Wall Street Journal story on Monday reported that Dorsey had intervened in a number of decisions about suspensions and permanent bans involving prominent figures, such as far-right activist Richard Spencer and conspiracy advocate Alex Jones of InfoWars, delaying or modifying decisions. Twitter denied Dorsey overruling staff to the Journal and repeated that in the Politico interview.
On Wednesday, Dorsey will testify twice before Congress. The Senate Intelligence Committee will grill him on Twitter’s actions around interference into U.S. elections by international actors. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will meanwhile hold his feet to the fire for what is labeled a discussion about “Twitter’s algorithms and content monitoring,” but which is expected to involve conservative representatives presenting allegations of bias against their end of the political spectrum.
Twitter and CEO Dorsey have faced enormous criticism across the political spectrum, though more predominately among progressive elements, for its seemingly uneven enforcement by political and extreme media figures of its stated guidelines around posts that harass others, engage in its definition of hate speech, threaten violence, and even reveal personal details. The majority in both chambers of Congress have little interest in these issues, however.