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Defeat in presidential race will end Trump's special Twitter treatment

Social network treats transgressions from world leaders differently than those from regular users, and often leaves up tweets that violate its content policies by adding a warning

Topics
US Presidential elections 2020 | Donald Trump | Twitter

Kurt Wagner | Bloomberg 

President Donald Trump speaks about early results from the 2020 US presidential election in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Photo: Reuters
President Donald Trump speaks about early results from the 2020 US presidential election in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Photo: Reuters

As US president, receives special treatment from when he violates its rules around offensive or misleading content. That exemption will end in January if he loses the presidency.

The social network treats transgressions from world leaders differently than those from regular users, and often leaves up tweets that violate its content policies, adding a warning instead of forcing users to delete the posts. This is part of Twitter’s philosophy that people should be able to hear from world leaders even when they share controversial posts because their messages are inherently newsworthy.

But former world leaders aren’t protected under that policy. High-profile politicians no longer in office — like former US President Barack Obama — are treated like regular users if they violate Twitter’s rules, which prohibit messages that include hate speech or posts that glorify violence or contain certain types of false information, like dangerous health-related misinformation.

Trump will fall into the “former” group if he leaves office in January, confirmed. If that happens, breaking one of Twitter’s rules means his tweets may be removed entirely instead of labelled. He could also rack up “strikes” for multiple violations, which would increase the severity of punishment issued from the company, and could lead to temporary account freezes, suspensions or even a permanent ban.

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First Published: Sat, November 07 2020. 01:11 IST