President Donald Trump may soon find himself hidden or throttled by Twitter, according to the mainstream media interpretation of the platform’s new rules for certain posts that “violate rules” but remain of “public interest.”
There are “certain cases where it may be in the public’s interest to have access to certain Tweets, even if they would otherwise be in violation of our rules,” Twitter said on Thursday, trying to shed some light on when and how they will deal with them going forward.
For accounts to be given this leeway they must represent a government official or someone running for public office or awaiting confirmation, have over 100,000 followers, and be verified (“blue checkmark”). A team of Twitter officials will make the determination in each case.
The problematic tweet will not be removed from the platform, but it be slapped with a notice, “feature less prominently” on Twitter, and not appear in searches, recommended tweets, notifications, or timelines under certain conditions, amounting to what has been commonly called a “shadowban.”
While the document does not mention President Donald Trump by name, mainstream media outlets like CNN and Voice of America immediately jumped to the conclusion that he would find himself on the receiving end of the new policy.
Journalist Tim Pool had a different take, accusing Twitter of giving special privileges to “elites.”
Meanwhile, Democrat pressure group Sleeping Giants scoffed at the measure, saying it does not go far enough.
Twitter’s new policy amounts to walking a censorship tightrope, at a time when social media platforms are caught between demands to remove “hate speech” and threats of regulation and legal action because their content-policing seems to be overwhelmingly partisan in character.