Twitter has retracted its initial explanation for why it won't delete the graphic and controversial anti-Muslim videos that were retweeted by US President Donald Trump this week.

Trump's retweets included a series of unverified videos, originally posted by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the far-right fringe group Britain First. The videos purportedly showed Muslims committing violent acts.

The tweets immediately drew condemnation from leaders in the US and the UK, with critics arguing that it could stoke anti-Muslim sentiments and incite violence. However, the White House defended the tweets saying the "threat is real" whether or not the videos are real.

Many people also questioned Twitter's reasoning for not immediately taking down the videos, which seemed to violate its terms of service that forbids hateful speech and abusive behaviour on its platform.

Despite calls for Trump to be banned from the platform in light of his controversial posts and apparent violation of Twitter's policies, the company earlier argued that tweets by the president are "newsworthy" and in the public interest.

On Thursday, an unnamed Twitter spokesman told CNN: "To help ensure people have an opportunity to see every side of an issue, there may be the rare occasion when we allow controversial content or behavior which may otherwise violate our rules to remain on our service because we believe there is a legitimate public interest in its availability.

"Each situation is evaluated on a case by case basis and ultimately decided upon by a cross-functional team."

However, Twitter changed its explanation within 24 hours. "We mistakenly pointed to the wrong reason we didn't take action on the videos from earlier this week," Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in a tweet. "We're still looking critically at all of our current policies, and appreciate all the feedback."

Twitter's confusing stance on the issue comes as the company struggles to tackle graphic, abusive and hateful content on its site. It recently updated its policies and revamped its rules on how it plans to deal with offensive content.

However, its latest reversal and Dorsey's confusing explanation have sparked fresh backlash from users, accusing the company of failing to understand and stick by its own policies.

Joshua Topolsky, head of the tech website The Outline, tweeted: "Jack do you think the reason is because you desperately need Trump to keep using Twitter so he gets to do whatever he wants?"

Dorsey replied: "No, I don't."

Topolsky followed up with another question: "So you'll remove the offensive content based on your policies?" Dorsey has yet to respond.

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Twitter has changed its stance on why it hasn't taken down President Trump's controversial anti-Muslim retweets NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images