MEDIA
01/06/2018 09:34 am ET

Twitter Says Blocking Accounts Of World Leaders Would 'Hamper Necessary Discussion'

Critics have pushed the company to reprimand Donald Trump for his threatening tweets about nuclear attacks.
President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on June 27, 2017. 
Carlos Barria / Reuters
President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on June 27, 2017. 

Twitter appeared to clear up any confusion over whether it might block the account of President Donald Trump, publishing a blog post on Friday that said removing content from world leaders would “hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.”

“Twitter is here to serve and help advance the global, public conversation,” the company said. “Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation because of their outsized impact on our society. Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate.”

The post did not mention Trump by name. 

Activists began flashing messages on the side of Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco this week, demanding the company ban Trump’s account after he compared the size of his “Nuclear Button” to that of North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un. The messages included: “Be a hero: Ban Trump,” “Endangers the World,” and “Trump or @jack must go” — referring to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. 

Critics have called on the company to ban Trump ― or at least to remove some of his tweets, particularly those in which he appears to threaten nuclear action. They typically cite a Twitter rule that states users “may not make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people.” 

Twitter did take action this week against loyal Trump supporter David Clarke, the bombastic former Milwaukee County sheriff. The company locked Clarke’s account after he posted a series a threatening tweets, including one in reference to the media that said: “Punch them in the nose & MAKE THEM TASTE THEIR OWN BLOOD.”

Twitter reportedly ended its freeze on Clarke’s account when the offending tweets were removed.

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