US President Donald Trump has once again made waves on social media after appearing to make another threat of nuclear war on Twitter. However, the social media company said it does not believe his post violated any of its rules on abusive behaviour.
On Tuesday (2 January), Trump boasted about the size of his "nuclear button" saying it was "much bigger and more powerful" than that of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. During his annual New Year's Day address, Kim mentioned the existence of a nuclear button on his desk capable of hitting the United States.
"This is reality, not a threat," Kim said.
In response, Trump boasted on Twitter: "North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un just stated that the 'Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.' Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"
Alarmed lawmakers, critics, and social media users immediately slammed Trump over his "childish" and "dangerous" rhetoric with many calling for the president to be banned from Twitter.
Numerous people also reported the controversial tweet for violating Twitter's policy against making violent threats.
However, multiple people who reported the post were met with an automated response that said they "found no violation of the Twitter Rules against abusive behaviour."
A Twitter spokesperson told The Hill that Trump's inflammatory tweet did not violate the company's terms of service because it was not a "specific threat."
According to the Twitter Rules: "You may not make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people."
"We consider violent threats to be explicit statements of one's intent to kill or inflict serious physical harm against another person," the company's policy states. "This includes, but is not limited to, threatening to murder someone, sexually assault someone, break someone's bones, and/or commit any other violent act that may result in someone's death or serious injury.
"Please note that wishing or hoping that someone experiences serious physical harm, making vague threats, or threatening less serious forms of physical harm would not fall under this specific policy. Instead, we may review and take action against that content under our abusive behavior and hateful conduct policies."
Offending accounts found violating these rules will be permanently suspended from the platform, according to Twitter. The platform will also ban users for content that "glorifies violence" as well.
At the time of writing, the fiery tweet was still up on Twitter.
Twitter's response to the issue has already prompted fierce backlash and protests with people accusing CEO Jack Dorsey of being "complicit" in Trump's behaviour.
Resist SF, an activist group in San Francisco projected the phrases "@jack is #complicit" and "Ban @realDonaldTrump" on Twitter's headquarters on Tuesday night. The group is also planning a protest for Wednesday evening.
"Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, has enabled @realDonaldTrump from his first dog whistles in the birther movement to his latest nuclear pissing contest," Resist SF wrote in a Facebook event for the protest. "Twitter is endangering the world and breaking its own terms of service to do it. Trump or Jack must go.
This isn't the first time Twitter has been accused of enabling Trump and his controversial tweets.
In September 2017, Trump posted a threat against North Korea and "Little Rocket Man" Kim that the Pyongyang considered a "clear declaration of war."
Despite fervent calls for his account to be suspended, Twitter said it holds all accounts to the same rules, but also considers a number of factors when assessing whether a tweet violates its rules.
"Among the considerations is 'newsworthiness' and whether a Tweet is of public interest," the company said at the time. Dorsey has also previously said it is "important to hear directly from our leadership".
"I think it's an important time for the company and service," Dorsey said last year. "And having [Trump] on our service — using it as a direct line of communication — allows everyone to see what's on his mind in the moment. I think that's interesting."
Dorsey has yet to comment on Trump's latest tweet.
In a blog post published Friday (5 January), Twitter addressed the massive backlash making it clear that it does not intend to block Trump or any other world leader from its platform.
"Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets, would hide important information people should be able to see and debate," the company wrote. "It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions."
The company did not name Trump specifically or his controversial tweets that triggered the torrent of criticism and serious concerns. However, it restates its current policy on the "newsworthiness" of the content in concern.
"We review Tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly," the company wrote. "No one person's account drives Twitter's growth, or influences these decisions. We work hard to remain unbiased with the public interest in mind.
"We are working to make Twitter the best place to see and freely discuss everything that matters. We believe that's the best way to help our society make progress."