Over the past three years and changing, it seems like the whole world has learned to revolve around our very special Commander in Chief Donald Trump in big and small ways. Hardly any consequence: Twitter – by far his favorite platform for driving its grassroots frenzy – was forced to create an entirely new exemption for those who held political office and could not possibly be expected to adhere to Keeping the rules that rules the rest of us. So Trump was free to tweet just about anything without Twitter intervening. Fortunately, the Gizmodo company confirmed today that Trump’s card will be revoked without parole once he leaves office.
The policy in question came about on that day last year and worked out a gray area for content on the platform that was technically against the rules of Twitter, but happened to be posted by a big, powerful person with many followers. No, really, that’s part of the equation: In order for the “World Leader” exemption to apply, that account applies must be reviewed, have over 100,000 followers and are a current owner or nominee for any “local, state, national, or supra-state government or legislative agency.”
Instead of removing content that crosses the line, Twitter will just suggest a version of the following warning label on it if posted by someone who ticks all of these boxes:
This tweet violated the Twitter rules [specific rule]. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public interest that the tweet remain available. Learn more
Fill in the blank with the rule in question and you have a convenient way to allow banned content on your website and wash your hands.
Trump, of course, was a frequent beneficiary of this rule. That said, he had tweets to spare glorified violence against protesters, threatened to harm the demonstrators, encouraged Election campaign, Election campaign further promoted, and promoted disinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic.
While a Twitter spokesperson told Gizmodo that company policies “are Not enforced retrospectively ”- that is, it won’t go back and censor old Trump tweets when he’s out of office – they have confirmed that the public interest and exemptions of world leaders“ only apply to elected officials when they actually are Official in the office.” [Note: Both emphases theirs.]
On January 20 – ideally in 2021 or, God help us, in 2025 – Donald Trump will stop being the global leader on Twitter and Twitter will finally take off its kid’s gloves.