Days after President Donald Trump sparked outrage with a tweet claiming his nuclear “button” is “bigger & more powerful” than that of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the social network has made an announcement relating to the president’s future access to the site.
Twitter released a statement Friday in which it emphasized the “critical role” played by “elected world leaders” in the conversation on Twitter due to the “outsized impact” they have on society.
Though Twitter did not mention Trump or any other leader by name, the social network indicated that blocking world leaders on its site would actually do more harm than good by effectively stopping vital discussions from taking place.
“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.”
Twitter did say that it would take a look at specific tweets “within the political context that defines them,” then make decisions about enforcing its rules of conduct based on that.
Many saw the company’s statement as a response to the criticism levied at Trump following his controversial nuclear button tweet.
“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times,'” the president tweeted Tuesday. “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!”
Many Democrats took issue with the post, arguing that it is not a good strategy to provoke Kim’s regime.
“A nuclear conflict on the Korean Peninsula would be a catastrophe, leading to the deaths of potentially millions of people, including American servicemembers and families stationed there,” Sen. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts said in a statement, according to The Washington Post.
“We cannot let this war of words result in an actual war,” he added.
Markey’s sentiments were echoed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, who called the president’s Twitter outbursts “a very poor representation of the United States.”
“President Trump’s foreign-policy-by-tweet is doing serious damage to the country,” Schumer said this week on the Senate floor. “Where we have serious issues to address abroad, President Trump seems happy with macho boasts and belligerent threats that get us nowhere.”
Criticism for Trump’s Twitter habits is nothing new, but in a tweet late last month, the president explained why he actually uses the social media network.
“I use Social Media not because I like to, but because it is the only way to fight a VERY dishonest and unfair ‘press,’ now often referred to as Fake News Media,” the president tweeted.
“Phony and non-existent “sources” are being used more often than ever. Many stories & reports a pure fiction!”
Twitter has come to the president’s defense before.
In November, CEO Jack Dorsey said Trump’s account would not be suspended because his tweets are “newsworthy,” according to Fortune.
“If an account were to publicly attack or harass a private citizen, we would take action,” Dorsey said. “We do have a clause in our terms of service that we unfortunately did not have publicly stated …around newsworthiness and public interest.”
As noted by The New York Times, Twitter’s latest statement looked to push buck on claims that “controversial figures” such as Trump are only allowed to keep their accounts because it benefits the social media network.
“We are working to make Twitter the best place to see and freely discuss everything that matters,” Twitter concluded. “We believe that’s the best way to help our society make progress.”
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