Trump to lose special Twitter protection in January

Twitter
Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

Outgoing American president Donald Trump will lose privileges he enjoys as a world leader when President-elect Joe Biden takes office on 20 January 2021.

Trump’s Twitter account @realDonaldTrump will be subject to the same rules as any other user. This means that it will be subject to bans on inciting of violence and posting false information about voting or the coronavirus pandemic.

Twitter allows “world leaders” and some other officials to post rule-breaking content placing “public interest” notices over them. Such content would otherwise be removed. Tweets from political candidates and elected or government officials are instead hidden by a warning or with the social media platform limiting engagements.

The public interest policy was formalized in 2019 and applies only to world leaders and candidates for office. A private citizen or someone who no longer holds office is not allowed such privileges.

A Twitter spokesperson told The Verge that the on the subject Twitter’s approach is based on the principle that people should be able to choose to see what their leaders are saying with a clear context.

Twitter places “public interest” notices on some rule-breaking tweets from “world leaders” that would otherwise be removed. Such tweets from political candidates and elected or government officials are instead hidden by a warning and Twitter takes actions to restrict their reach.

But the company said this treatment does not apply to former office holders.

Twitter can still enforce their rules if world leaders promote terrorism, make direct threats, post private individuals or encourage self-harm.

Since election night, Twitter and Facebook have slapped various posts by Trump with warning labels after he posted baseless allegations of fraud.