Twitter published a blog post explaining how it approaches tweets from world leaders, stressing that world leaders are not entirely exempt from its moderation policies. There are a few specific scenarios in which world leaders would face enforcement action from Twitter, according to the social media company.
Don’t expect harsh action in other cases, though. Twitter reiterated that it would leave violating tweets online with a notice if there’s a “clear public interest” to do so. The aim is to create a space for public conversation and information, the company said, and it wants to ensure that people can join in that conversation “freely and safely.” It’s also not worried about the implied message of a given tweet. Twitter wants to focus on the actual language of a tweet, not “all potential interpretations.”
Commentary on issues, declarations of foreign policy and chats between public figures are “generally” not violating rules by themselves, the company said.
Critics aren’t likely to be happy. They’ve argued that politicians enjoy a double standard on Twitter where ban-worthy behavior results in a slap on the wrist. Moreover, they’ve contended that politicians sometime provoke violence by attacking entire cultures, the media or opposing political parties. Twitter’s update clarifies its rationale.