On Friday, amid increasingly vocal calls for the company to ban President Donald Trump from its service, Twitter defended its policies against censoring world leaders on its platform.
"Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate," the company wrote in a blog post. "It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions."
The post didn't call out Trump or the increasingly vocal protests by name.
Twitter also did not say definitively that it would never ban Trump, or any other world leader. "We review Tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly," its post said. The post, headlined "World Leaders on Twitter," also did not define what a world leader is.
In recent months, people have been protesting outside Twitter's headquarters and demanding that the company ban Trump. On Wednesday, protesters projected angry messages on Twitter's headquarters after Trump taunted North Korea leader Kim Jong Un about the size, power, and operational status of his "Nuclear Button."
This wasn't Trump's first provocative tweet aimed at North Korea. In September, Trump seemed to threaten the annihilation of the country, tweeting: "Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!" North Korea said the tweet was a declaration of war.
Here's the full blog post:
There’s been a lot of discussion about political figures and world leaders on Twitter, and we want to share our stance.
Twitter is here to serve and help advance the global, public conversation. Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation because of their outsized impact on our society.
Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate. It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.
We review Tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly. No one person's account drives Twitter’s growth, or influences these decisions. We work hard to remain unbiased with the public interest in mind.
We are working to make Twitter the best place to see and freely discuss everything that matters. We believe that’s the best way to help our society make progress.
Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.
Contact Alex Kantrowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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