Trump's next Twitter issue

Trump's next Twitter issue


Trump is exempt from much of Twitter's policies because of his status as a world leader. In January, you can get rid of your favorite toys and your most powerful weapon.


Bad tweets from the president are the stuff of slideshows and masterpieces. They have inspired cultural memes and expressions, and some are so badly stupid that they can even be called poetry: “The best taco cakes are made at Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics! "Donald Trump tweeted memorably on Cinco de Mayo 2016.


Others are scary. At one point, he declared that a tweet "could serve as a notification" that the United States would counter any military attack by Iran, "perhaps in a disproportionate manner." 


There was a time when he participated in the wild speculation that the Clintons ordered the murder of Jeffrey Epstein. There were Obama conspiracy theories, one after the other, throughout the Trump presidency and long before. 


There was the grotesque promise that "when the looting begins, the shooting begins." Trump's "worst tweet ever," according to a Washington Post columnist, was the one he posted when he left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in October for treatment for COVID-19: "Do not be afraid of Covid. 


Let it do not rule your life. ”Now, but a few weeks later, he has outdone himself, with unsubstantiated claims to unsubstantiated claims that his election has been stolen. "I won this election, far!" tweeted less than an hour before all major networks explained otherwise. "WE WILL WIN!" he tweeted four days later, unintentionally.


However, Twitter has never banned Trump. He did not even suspend it. Instead, the company codified its unwillingness to include Trump in politics, and wrote an exemption from its rules for "world leaders, candidates, and public officials." Incitement to violence, hate speech, deliberate harassment - crimes that would remove other people from Twitter were acceptable to Trump and other politicians. 


"It would take something really regrettable for a ban, and I highly doubt even Trump is that stupid," an anonymous Twitter contributor told The Verge in 2017. (There are some rules that are so strict that even Trump is not exempt. This includes things like doxing, promoting terrorism, and sharing revenge porn).



This year, Twitter began to moderate the president, and misinformation in general, for the first time significantly. In the spring, when Trump blatantly spread false information about the coronavirus, the company posted warning labels on his tweets. (Twitter also briefly suspended his son Donald Trump Jr. for sharing a video claiming hydroxychloroquine is a drug for COVID-19.) 


In the summer and fall, President Trump's lies about voting by mail and voter fraud accompanied by notes on the disputed claims and links to real information. 


Since November 4, the president has tweeted (or retweeted) more than 120 times. So far, about 40 of these tweets come with a warning label. (This does not count the allegations of voter fraud he has retweeted from other people.)


You are now two months away from losing your Twitter Rules Exemption; in theory, you will return to the same treatment as everyone else. "The [world leader] policy framework applies to current world leaders and candidates for public office, and not to private citizens if they no longer hold these positions," a Twitter spokesman confirmed in a statement. 


Twitter delivered the president's speech last year, adding friction to the process by which conspiracy theories are disseminated, and highlighting false information for what it is. But it has not yet become core. 


The company is in a pinch: Trump banned after leaving office would be interpreted as an aggressive political act by many on the right-wing. 


It could lead him and his followers to other, more isolated parts of the Internet, where delusions and lies are not controlled by the mainstream. But allowing you to spread dangerous misinformation would be hypocritical and, frankly, detrimental to the image of the company.


OK ... will Twitter do it?

Trump's next Twitter issue



One way to predict whether Twitter will ban Trump would be to look at his track record with similar cases. In the past, Twitter has been extremely reluctant and somewhat vague about its decisions to ban famous people completely. 


He has been particularly reluctant to enforce prohibition forms if they appear to be believing the right wing's favorite story about being "censored" by Big Tech. 


When Twitter mumbled about the ban on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, for example, CEO Jack Dorsey said the company had to keep Jones "on the same level" as all other accounts and resist "taking one-off actions to make us feel good in the short term" and add fuel to new conspiracy theories. " Jones was eventually banned, for "abusive behavior," and Twitter provided no further details than that indicated.


When It was asked among Trump allies if they suspected they would ban him if he left office, only right-wing conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich answered. "Of course it will be," he said, adding that he imagined the company would count the days. 


The experts were much less certain. "I think it's quite possible," said James Grimmelmann, a professor at Cornell Law School who studied moderation. "Twitter has always said that the policies that Trump has kept on Twitter are an exception for political leaders and figures." But then Grimmelmann came back and said the platform could continue to label false claims with warnings or start deleting individual tweets. (The White House did not return a request for comment.)




He was not convinced that Trump would ever be kicked out of Twitter, especially since many of Trump's serious tweets as president have been specific since he was president. You can not really be offended by calling someone "stupid" or "fake", and it's rare to see bans, even for racist, sexist or polite remarks, unless they contain real insults. 


It is also not easy to be kicked out for indirectly offering an enemy for coordinated harassment; by that standard, many pop stars would go away. Most of Trump's daily behavior on Twitter is indecent, but not unforgiving, and his most offensive tweets were irritating as they called for presidential power, pointing to a nuclear weapons contest, suggesting his army could suppress the protest by force. 


That power disappears on January 20th. But Grimmelmann, like all the other experts I spoke to, believed that the Twitter policy that Trump was likely to violate was his rule against inciting or glorifying violence. 


It should be a bright line, he said, and Twitter would be able to defend the app by pointing to a clear policy. "I do not expect them to make their reasoning public," he added. "They will share far fewer details than are part of the internal consultation." 

And after Dorsey's irritation with the way his staff handled a URL block in a New York Post story about Hunter Biden, Grimmelmann said the CEO should be the one to make the call in person. (Twitter declined to comment.)


Brian L. Ott, a communications professor at Missouri State University and co-author of The Twitter Presidency, agreed that if Trump were banned, it would likely be for incitement to violence. 


"I think there is no question about that," he said. "It has repeatedly shown its willingness to legitimize and escalate political violence." It will do it again, Ott said, and they will eventually snatch it from their favorite website. It's just a matter of time.


Even defenders of freedom of opinion believe that calls for violence should keep Trump away from Twitter. "[He] has certainly challenged a lot of preconceived notions about how to handle the president's speech," said Katie Fallow, a senior lawyer at the Knight Institute of the First Amendment, who successfully sued Trump in 2017 for blocking U.S. citizens on Twitter. , He agreed in that tendency to violence if a direct threat is an offense that Trump would probably have to commit. 


"That's the kind of thing that would make Twitter feel safer if it forbids anyone to do it," he told me. Twitter is a business, not a government, so it is not guilty of the First Amendment. But the company could use it as a guide in a sensitive case, and speech that causes immediate and immediate violence is a narrow exception to rights to free speech.




Twitter did not tell whether Trump would be suspended or banned if he continued tweeting destabilizing information about the January 20, 202 elections. The company did not say who would be authorized to make the call, or how much detail the company would give. about her reasoning as he did. , As with many decisions made by the platforms that determine the course of our conversations and the fate of our democracy, we will have to wait and see.


It can be argued that none of this is really important: that Trump is too big of a presence and too magnetic personality to disappear; that you can never really disarm a former president. When Twitter banned Jones in 2018, a move that drastically limited its reach, the radio host had less than a million followers. His audience was small compared to Trump's. 


No person as famous or influential as Trump is banned, so it cannot be said with certainty what downstream effects a ban would have.


But we’ve had four years to see what the effects are of not banning it. If Trump is allowed to stay on Twitter, his power over speech will not disappear after he leaves office. 


He has won more than 60 million followers in this presidency and losing re-election has not cost him an iota of dying on social media; he has gained another 1.5 million followers since election day. 


There's no reason to think you will not use this huge audience to endanger people's lives with forgeries - a recent study found that Trump and 20 of his high profile supporters were the source of 20 percent of retweets of incorrect information. election and another found that Trump himself was "the biggest driver" of misinformation about the coronavirus.


Trump can continue to push both narratives out of office himself, and they can continue to spin the American people. Kate Starbird, a researcher at the University of Washington who studied the spread of disinformation, told me that she did not believe that Twitter would deactivate Trump's account and that she had no opinion on whether it should, but that it was absolutely an enormous would have an impact. impact as it did. 


"Donald Trump has a massive effect on the Twitter ecosystem," he said. She proved it with an anecdote. The systems you use to conduct your research can collect 50 tweets per second. Overall good. 


But when his team collected data on hydroxychloroquine on Twitter in the spring, it was impossible to keep up. Once Trump entered the conversation, 50 tweets per second became only a small percentage of the data.


“It has a big impact on the speech,” he told me. As long as Trump maintains his Twitter account, reality will be skewed. The longer you stay there, the harder it is to see.


Source: Google Image, theatlantic.com

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