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Twitter to clarify rules in wake of Trump North Korea threat tweets

26 Septembre 2017

Trump and North Korean officials have been engaged in a war of words, with North Korea's foreign minister calling Trump "mentally deranged" and Trump referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as "Rocket Man".

The argument centres on a particular tweet by Donald Trump published on 24 September.

Some Twitter users have been finding themselves having their accounts blocked by the President for disagreeing with him, while others have been suspended or banned from using the Twitter service altogether for making threats to others or using inappropriate language. We need to do better on this, and will. Twitter is committed to transparency and keeping people informed about what's happening in the world. But it also illustrates the limits of Twitter's approach to harassment, revealing a Trump-sized loophole in the company's policy.

Later, a company spokesperson told Recode that Twitter's post was not confirming that Trump's tweet violated its rules.

Over the weekend, the US President tweeted that if North Korean leaders continued to make provocative statements, "they won't be around for much longer".

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The threat of nuclear war apparently was enough to spur some folks into reporting the tweet as abusive or harmful - a process which takes less than a minute via a series of questions provided by Twitter.

Violent threats (direct or indirect): You may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism. "It'll also have to take this into consideration when a private individual's tweet blows up - is that tweet suddenly newsworthy too?"

That explanation struck some critics as tantamount to Twitter admitting that the usual rules don't apply to Trump. However, the company pledged to "consider a number of factors when assessing whether tweets violate our rules" including re-evaluating tweets that are in the "public interest" or deemed "newsworthy".

Twitter's latest announcement comes as it, and other social networks, have been removing tens of thousands of accounts globally because of users violating content rules by promoting violence or hate. "By establishing a standard of "newsworthiness", all public figures" tweets will theoretically be subject to a subjective threshold.

Twitter to clarify rules in wake of Trump North Korea threat tweets