US President Donald Trump’s Twitter profile is as divisive as the man himself and for years folks have been calling for Twitter to ban the president from tweeting.

This week in a blog post, Twitter outlined its principles and approach when reviewing reported tweets from accounts run by politicians and world leaders.

The social network says that the actions it takes will set a precedent regarding online speech and as such it needs to be deliberate and considerate in its approach to how it polices the platform.

So what does that deliberate and considerate approach look like?

To put it simply, politicians are required to follow the Twitter rules but even if they don’t there doesn’t seem to be any downside or punishment.

“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,” writes Twitter.

There are however some instances in which a tweet from a politician would be flagged and removed. These instances include:

  • Promotion of terrorism;
  • Clear and direct threats of violence against an individual (context matters: direct interactions with fellow public figures and/or commentary on political and foreign policy issues would likely not result in enforcement);
  • Posting private information, such as a home address or non-public personal phone number;
  • Posting or sharing intimate photos or videos of someone that were produced or distributed without their consent;
  • Engaging in behaviors relating to child sexual exploitation; and
  • Encouraging or promoting self-harm.

In cases where tweets contain the above, the tweets will be met with enforcement action regardless of who tweeted it.

While Twitter’s policy is similar to those announced by Facebook and YouTube recently, Twitter has taken the time to outline how it will approach the most divisive of tweets.

You can find Twitter’s full blog post at this link.

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.