With the prevalence of social media, finding the right balance between free speech and sharing right about anything for seeking attention has been next to impossible. Recently, Twitter found itself stuck in a similar whirlpool.
Many government officials take to Twitter to either make unofficial announcements or to broadcast their thoughts. Some of them i.e. President Donald Trump, use the platform for war threats and other allegations.
Over the last few years, users are questioning why Twitter does not take down these tweets? Twitter had mum lips about the situation but since Twitter’s shares dropped a whole 1.4 percent, the company decided to take action against such profiles.
In a new blog post, Twitter has explained the new rules and urged the politicians and government officials to avoid allegations of political bias or their tweet will be marked.
Who will be Scrutinized?
Twitter has decided to attach special labels to tweets from major political figures if their content violates the site’s rules.
Since deleting them is not in public interest, according to the company. Anyhow the accounts fulfilling the following criteria will be kept under observation at all times.
- The account belongs to a government official, individual running for a public office or an induvial being considered for a government position.
- The account has more than 1 lac followers.
- The account is verified.
Twitter said, “the Twitter Rules about abusive behavior apply to this Tweet. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest in the Tweet to remain available.”
This new policy is basically Twitter’s efforts to balance an ideological commitment to free expression and user’s demand to remove disturbing, violent and harassing tweets.
As Twitter said,
Serving the public conversation includes providing the ability for anyone to talk about what matters to them; this can be especially important when engaging with government officials and political figures. By nature of their positions, these leaders have outsized influence and sometimes say things that could be considered controversial or invite debate and discussion. A critical function of our service is providing a place where people can openly and publicly respond to their leaders and hold them accountable.
A labeled tweet will not be deleted rather it will be deprioritized. The tweet will not appear in searches, top tweets on user’s timeline and live event pages. It will also be removed from recommendations and the explore tab.
For viewing the tweet users will have to click through the notice saying, “The Twitter Rules about abusive behavior apply to this Tweet. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest in the Tweet to remain available.”
Spreading these kinds of messages will be stopped algorithmically. Employees at Twitter’s trust and safety, legal, public policy, and regional teams will personally review the Tweet and will decide whether it should be labeled or not.