On Wednesday, one of the top executives for Twitter announced that the social media platform is thinking about labeling tweets from politicians, including those from President Trump, that they consider being in violation of the rules they have put into place.
During a Washington Post event in San Francisco, the head of Twitter’s legal, policy, and trust and safety, Vijaya Gadde, stated that the point of leaving the tweets up with a note from Twitter, instead of taking them down, would be because they’re considered to be newsworthy.
“One of the things we’re working really closely on with our product and engineering folks is, ‘How can we label that?’ 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?” said Gadde.
According to The Hill, the answers have come in response to a question that was asked about whether or not President Trump can tweet whatever he wants. “There is absolutely a line of a type of content, an example being a direct, violent threat against an individual, that we wouldn’t leave on the platform because of the danger it poses to that individual. But there are other types of content that we believe are newsworthy or in the public interest that people may want to have a conversation around,” explained Gadde.
According to The Post, President Trump “has tested the community standards repeatedly” on the social media platform. The Post then pointed to certain examples, such as when he called the former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman a “dog,” when he mocked Sen. John McCain and Hillary Clinton, and when he retweeted an image of him squashing CNN with the bottom of his foot.
At the beginning of March, Gadde and the CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, were put on the spot on “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast. The topic of discussion was the company’s enforcement of their hate speech rules, which seem to be driven by the left at the expense of those who believe differently than they do and are simply exercising their First Amendment rights.
While they were speaking, independent journalist Tim Pool told Dorsey and Gadde: “Twitter is slowly gaining, in my opinion, too much control from your personal ideology, based on what you’ve researched is right, over American discourse.”
Pool then pointed out the rule that Twitter enforces against “misgendering” as an example of Twitter’s political leaning. According to the rules, users can be removed from Twitter if they fail to refer to a Transgender person by the gender they choose to identify as. According to Pool, conservatives consider misgendering the act of calling someone a gender other than the one that they were biologically assigned at birth. “I have a rule against the abuse and harassment of trans people on our platform. That’s what my rule is,” explained Gadde.
The host of the podcast, Joe Rogan, argued that those who disagree aren’t necessarily “being mean by saying a man is never a woman. This is a perspective that is scientifically accurate.” While Gadde eventually admitted that Rogan and Pool had a point, he added: “All I’ll say is our intent is not to police ideology, our intent is to police behaviors that we view as abuse and harassment.”
Dorsey also acknowledged that Twitter does make ideological decisions, but also said they are planning to broaden their perspective by expanding the workforce beyond San Francisco Bay.