Twitter confirmed that they could clamp down harder on President Donald Trump’s personal Twitter account after he leaves office.
Trump will lose the protections that Twitter offers to world leaders when he becomes a private citizen, exposing him to the possibility of being more strictly moderated and possibly even banned if he continues to disseminate “conspiracy theories,” according to The Independent.
According to Twitter’s “principles & approach” to world leaders, “if a Tweet from a world leader does violate the Twitter Rules but there is a clear public interest value to keeping the Tweet on the service, we may place it behind a notice that provides context about the violation and allows people to click through should they wish to see the content.”
Trump will lose that stipulation at noon on Jan. 20, a Twitter spokesperson told Forbes last Thursday on condition of anonymity, also saying the company does not have “special rules” for dealing with Trump.
Despite Trump’s status as the president of the United States, Twitter has been cracking down on many of his tweets since Election Day that have questioned the integrity of the election results, either hiding them or flagging them and linking to articles that asserts the results are trustworthy. In the two days following the election, Twitter labeled 50% of his tweets, according to Forbes.
As The Daily Wire reported:
A glance at the Twitter page of Donald Trump two days after the election presents a truly remarkable sight: the sitting president of the United States, as an historically tight Electoral College vote is still being tallied, is being repeatedly censored by one of the world’s most powerful platforms.
To the applause of many on the Left, Twitter slapped its first fact-check label over a Trump tweet in May. The platform rationalized the move by pointing to its newly announced “misleading information” policy, rolled out amid the COVID lockdowns. The new policy blocks out initial posts, replacing them with “labels and warning messages to provide additional explanations or clarifications” on tweets that might present some “risk” of “harm” to the public. Only after clicking on the censoring label can a user read the tweet containing the supposedly “misleading” or “disputed” or “unverified” claim.
Twitter intends to give Democratic nominee Joe Biden the president’s official U.S. government Twitter account on Jan. 20, 2021, regardless of whether President Donald Trump concedes, as The Daily Wire noted.
Trump has recently been stressing the need for a repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects social media companies such as Twitter from being treated as publishers. Section 230 states:
No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.
The term “otherwise objectionable” has given license to sites such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter to censor material they find “otherwise objectionable.” This is critical, because it means that if those two words were removed from the Code, those sites could theoretically be open to legal liability for removal of content for political reasons.