President Trump’s weekend tweets in which he used racist language to attack four progressive Democratic congresswomen are not against Twitter’s rules, a company spokesperson told CNN Business Monday — a conclusion apparently contradicted by Twitter’s written policies.
The episode represents a tough first test for a new stance Twitter announced less than a month ago, in which it will label and down-rank tweets from Trump and other world leaders that break its rules, rather than removing them.
Trump has repeatedly tested Twitter’s community standards with his regular tirades on the platform. Some of the president’s tweets have run afoul of Twitter’s rules.
On Sunday, referring to the four Democratic congresswomen, Trump tweeted, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how…it is done.” All four congresswomen are citizens; three were born in the US.
Twitter (TWTR)’s policy on hateful conduct prohibits “targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category.”
“We are committed to combating abuse motivated by hatred, prejudice or intolerance, particularly abuse that seeks to silence the voices of those who have been historically marginalized,” the policy reads.
Gizmodo was first to report Twitter’s apparent contradiction of its own policies.
Twitter’s new policy of labeling tweets from world leaders that break its rules, rather than removing them, is an effort to preserve tweets that are in the public interest, the company said. It had not removed any of Trump’s tweets that broke its rules.
On Monday, a spokesperson for the company confirmed to CNN Business that Trump’s tweets would not be labeled with a disclaimer. Asked about the apparent contradiction between Trump’s tweet and its policy, the spokesperson declined further comment.
Twitter has in the past allowed tweets from Trump and other world leaders to remain online even though they broke the company’s rules, a Twitter spokesperson confirmed to CNN Business, because it believes the tweets are in the public interest. Twitter would not provide any examples of these tweets.