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Twitter Won’t Take Down Trump’s Offensive Tweets, But it Might Label Them

Twitter is considering whether to change the way it handles offensive content, by adding labels to such tweets, but allowing them to remain on its platform.

Speaking at Technology 202 Live on Wednesday, a Washington Post Live forum in San Francisco, Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal, policy, and trust and safety, explained the social media company is seeking a way to maintain its standards, while allowing tweets from important figures that are in the public interest.

“One of the things we’re working really closely on with our product and engineering folks is, ‘How can we label that?’” Gadde said. “How can we put some context around it so people are aware that that content is actually a violation of our rules and it is serving a particular purpose in remaining on the platform.”

Twitter does have rules around offensive content, but tweets from leaders and others deemed newsworthy are often exempted. That means these tweets can just “live on Twitter and people can see it and they just assume that is the type of content or behavior that’s allowed by our rules,” Gadde said. Direct, violent threats, however, are never allowed.

Nevertheless, Twitter has come under fire for allowing tweets that are offensive, including numerous attacks President Donald Trump has made on other public figures, including the late Arizona Sen. John McCain and his former political opponent Hillary Clinton. He also has shared unverified anti-Islam videos and others that represent an attack on various members of the media and media outlets.

Gadde said the social media giant hopes such a tool will provide additional context to its users, while allowing newsworthy content to stay up “that people may want to have a conversation around.”

Meanwhile, early Wednesday, Facebook announced that it was taking steps to remove any content that praises, supports, or represents white nationalism and separatism.