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Twitter explains why it hasn't suspended Trump's account

Twitter will continue to take a forgiving approach to objectionable tweets by world leaders, arguing that their messages are often of public interest....

Posted: Oct 16, 2019 8:31 AM
Updated: Oct 16, 2019 9:15 AM

Twitter will continue to take a forgiving approach to objectionable tweets by world leaders, arguing that their messages are often of public interest.

The social media platform sought to clarify its rules for politicians Tuesday after coming under pressure from Senator Kamala Harris, a Democratic presidential candidate, to suspend President Donald Trump's account.

'We want to make it clear today that the accounts of world leaders are not above our policies entirely,' Twitter said in a blog post, adding that part of its mission is to allow people to 'engage their leaders directly.'

Twitter said it was sticking to a policy first laid out in June.

Under those rules, tweets by world leaders that violate the platform's policies will stay online if they have a 'clear public interest value.' In some cases, Twitter will place the tweet behind a note that provides context.

It said 'direct interactions with fellow public figures, comments on political issues of the day, or foreign policy saber-rattling on economic or military issues are generally not in violation' of the rules.

Yet the company has drawn some red lines that apply even to world leaders. It will take action if tweets promote terrorism, include private information or intimate photos, engage in child sexual exploitation or promote self-harm.

Twitter will also act when direct threats of violence are made against an individual. However, it said that 'context matters' and that interactions between public figures would likely not qualify.

'We recognize that we're operating in an increasingly complex and polarized political culture,' the blog post said. 'These are constantly evolving challenges and we'll keep our policies and approach under advisement.'

The Trump tweets

Twitter has come under intense pressure from Democrats to crack down on Trump's tweets, and calls for action have grown louder in recent weeks after Trump used his account to attack key figures in the impeachment probe underway in the House of Representatives. The company has not yet labeled any of the president's tweets as violating its policies.

Harris has meanwhile sought to make Trump's Twitter account a campaign issue. The former attorney general of California said in a letter earlier this month to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that the president had broken the platform's rules by using his account to 'target' and 'harass' the whistleblower at the center of the Ukraine scandal.

She returned to the issue during Tuesday's CNN/New York Times Democratic Presidential Debate, calling for a suspension of Trump's account and saying it had been used to 'openly intimidate and threaten witnesses.'

In her letter to Dorsey, Harris singled out a series of messages Trump posted in late September relating to the whistleblower who sparked the investigation into the White House's activities in Ukraine.

'Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called 'Whistleblower,' represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way,' Trump tweeted on September 29.

In a related tweet, Trump suggested the whistleblower was a spy.

When Trump used racist language to attack four Democratic congresswomen in July, a Twitter spokesperson told CNN Business the posts did not break the company's rules despite their prohibition on 'targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category.'

-- Donie O'Sullivan contributed to this report.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 259117

Reported Deaths: 5668
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17331186
Hinds16373328
Harrison13731199
Rankin10854217
Jackson10557187
Lee8922141
Madison8335166
Jones6483112
Forrest6038120
Lauderdale5965187
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Lafayette503193
Lamar490865
Washington4826124
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Warren3569100
Union348063
Marshall347769
Neshoba3413152
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Leflore3059107
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Hancock282559
Tate274362
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Pike264679
Scott250847
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Simpson238368
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Newton195044
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Jasper174438
Holmes169168
Clay161335
Tallahatchie148235
Stone145921
Clarke141762
Calhoun137621
Smith122725
Yalobusha119134
Walthall112836
Noxubee111423
Greene111029
Montgomery110136
Carroll105321
Lawrence103217
Perry102831
Amite98826
Webster93924
Tunica87421
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis85827
Benton83323
Humphreys83324
Kemper78420
Quitman6969
Franklin67115
Choctaw61213
Wilkinson58825
Jefferson55419
Sharkey44017
Issaquena1596
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 429655

Reported Deaths: 6283
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63040956
Mobile30794557
Madison27486201
Tuscaloosa20996268
Montgomery19352315
Shelby18833120
Baldwin16653184
Lee12749102
Morgan12389119
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Walker5954174
Jackson586341
Colbert539873
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Autauga525755
Coffee450456
Dale402981
Franklin369948
Russell340711
Chilton338966
Covington332668
Escambia326043
Dallas308896
Chambers293170
Clarke287833
Tallapoosa2641107
Pike255230
Marion248953
Lawrence246649
Winston229535
Bibb218847
Geneva205446
Marengo202829
Pickens197531
Hale179542
Barbour176036
Fayette172928
Butler170858
Cherokee161930
Henry156523
Monroe149818
Randolph142135
Washington139126
Clay127645
Crenshaw121544
Cleburne119023
Lamar119021
Macon118637
Lowndes112036
Wilcox105121
Bullock101128
Perry99019
Conecuh95720
Sumter89626
Greene76623
Coosa61015
Choctaw51624
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