Twitter has responded to critics who claim the social network has given President Donald Trump a pass on his inflammatory tweets.
On Monday, a company spokesman said that it takes into account “newsworthiness” and public interest when deciding whether or not a particular tweet violates the company’s rules for appropriate conduct.
The statement came after critics called out Twitter and demanded the company to take action against the president’s account for a tweet threatening North Korea over the weekend. The North Korea government then claimed the tweet was a “clear declaration of war,” and an argument could be made that it broke Twitter’s rules prohibiting harassment and content that incites violence.
Twitter’s rules about what is and what is not inappropriate are relatively vague and subjective. CEO Jack Dorsey seemed to acknowledge this in a tweet on Monday in which he promised his company would “do better” with transparency.
Dorsey tweeted, “We’re putting significant effort into increasing our transparency as a company and commit to meaningful and fast progress. Will do better.”
Monday’s statements point out the first time the company has argued “newsworthiness” as a criterion in enforcing its rules. As a result, Twitter’s decision to provide some editorial leeway makes the social network seem like more of a media company, instead of a social network.
“This has long been internal policy and we’ll soon update our public-facing rules to reflect it,” Twitter co-founder Biz Stone wrote in a blog post. “We need to do better on this, and will.”
This is not the first time Twitter has faced pressure over Donald Trump’s tweets. Twitter has mostly stayed quiet on the issue, pointing to company policy to not comment on individual comments.