Twitter has finally broken silence on US President Donald Trump's inflammatory tweet threatening North Korea saying it did not remove the post due to its "newsworthiness." The social media network's statement comes after many called for Twitter to take action against the president saying it violated Twitter's rules that prohibit harassment and content that incites violence on its platform.
"Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!" Trump tweeted on Sunday (24 September). The tweet came as the latest in a series of escalating remarks traded between the US and nuclear-armed North Korea.
Trump has frequently used the micro-blogging site to slam critics and his opponents, push his agenda and make statements on various issues in often controversial tweets, triggering fervent calls for his @realDonaldTrump account to be banned from the platform.
The issue once again cropped up after North Korea said it saw the president's tweet as a "clear declaration of war." White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the US has not declared war on North Korea saying the suggestion that it did is "absurd."
As per Twitter's rules on harassment and abusive behaviour, users are prohibited from making "threats of violence or [promoting] violence, including threatening of promoting terrorism." Users are not allowed to "incite or engage in the harassment of others" or "promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease".
Accounts that violate these rules may be subject to temporary or permanent suspension.
In a six-part Twitter thread, Twitter's Policy account has said the company holds all accounts to the same rules and considers "a number of factors when assessing whether Tweets violate our Rules." The company pledged to update its public politics on the factors that may lead to a tweet being taken down from the site.
"Among the considerations is 'newsworthiness' and whether a Tweet is of public interest," Twitter said. "This has long been an internal policy and we'll soon update our public-facing rules to reflect it. 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. We'll continue to be guided by these fundamental principles."
Initially, Twitter said it holds all accounts to the same standard and would not rule out banning Trump from the platform if his account was found to be in violation of its policies.
However, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey later said the company takes "newsworthiness" into consideration, adding that it is "important to hear directly from our leadership."
Many people have slammed Twitter over its latest stance on the issue saying it was "inconsistent" and "biased."
"So threatening to annihilate us all is OK with @Policy @TwitterSupport?," one person asked.
"You allow POTUS to abuse and make threats because those are "newsworthy", even though their impact is far worse than average troll," theoretical astrophysicist Dr. Katherine Mack tweeted. "So don't pretend with this "rules the same for everyone" nonsense. They should be STRICTER for influential accounts. They're weaker."
"Such utter BS. Guess you don't even make an exception for global security," another Twitter user wrote. "Your standards and priorities need adjusting."