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Twitter Says Accounts of World Leaders Have Special Status


A screenshot shows a fragment of the masthead of U.S. President Donald Trump's Twitter account, in Washington, Jan. 3, 2018.

Social media giant Twitter has reiterated its stance that accounts belonging to world leaders have special status, pushing back against calls from some users for the company to ban U.S. President Donald Trump.

In a blog post Friday, Twitter said it would not block the accounts of world leaders even if their statements were “controversial” because of a need to promote discussions about public policy.

​“Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate,” Twitter said.

It said such a move would also not silence a world leader, but it “would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.”

“Twitter is here to serve and help advance the global, public conversation. Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation because of their outsized impact on our society,” the post said.

The company has previously said that it considers whether a post is newsworthy and of public interest before deciding whether to remove it.

A combination photo shows President Donald Trump in New York, Sept. 21, 2017, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang, Sept. 4, 2017.
A combination photo shows President Donald Trump in New York, Sept. 21, 2017, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang, Sept. 4, 2017.

Twitter did not specifically mention Trump in its statement. The debate over Trump's tweets grew on Wednesday, when he tweeted that he had a “much bigger” nuclear button than North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Critics said the tweet violated Twitter's ban against threats of violence.

Last month, Twitter began enforcing new rules to remove “hateful” content on the network, including posts that promote violence.

The company said Friday that it reviews all tweets, including those of world leaders. “We review tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly,” the statement said.

A White House spokeswoman said she did not expect there to be any White House comment on the Twitter statement.

Pete Heinlein at the White House contributed to this report.

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