Twitter says no executive privilege for Trump's tweets

The social network says the president and his controversial tweets get no special treatment -- he also must follow the company's rules.

Terry Collins Staff Reporter, CNET News
Terry writes about social networking giants and legal issues in Silicon Valley for CNET News. He joined CNET News from the Associated Press, where he spent the six years covering major breaking news in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before the AP, Terry worked at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Kansas City Star. Terry's a native of Chicago.
Terry Collins
2 min read
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Do some of Trump's tweets violate Twitter's policies?

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Are there different rules for President Donald Trump when it comes to his controversial, bombastic and often abusive tweeting? While it may seem like it, Twitter says no. 

When a group of journalists asked about it earlier this week, the social network's head of trust and safety, Del Harvey, said there's no double standard regarding Trump, according to Recode.  

"We have processes in place to deal with whomever the person may be, we try to be as consistent as possible, as scalable as possible, and there's always all sorts of context and other things that come into play that make it impossible to comment on hypotheticals as is," she said while talking about Twitter's progress on curbing abusive behavior

"The rules are the rules, we enforce them the same way for everybody."

Hmm. Critics would likely disagree, pointing to some Trump tweets like one that showed a picture of Hillary Clinton atop a stack of cash and a Star of David, which was considered anti-Semitic. 

That and many other cringe-worthy tweets have led respondents of a poll to say the president should lay off Twitter. It's not just voters either. Some congressmen have called for a ban on Trump's tweets too. 

Meanwhile, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has said repeatedly that Trump's presence (and his 34.2 million followers) on the platform is "really important." Which is why Harvey's statement is particularly interesting.

It's also worth noting Trump is good for Twitter's business on some level. Company executives have said the platform's spike to 328 million users is due to its increasing political presence, and they've specifically attributed some of that to a Trump bump. 

But it's still an open question whether Twitter will actually act on any Tweet that crosses the line, like Trump's widely criticized July 3 tweet showing him clotheslining CNN

Neither Twitter nor the the White House had an immediate comment Thursday. 

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Intolerance on the Internet: Online abuse is as old as the internet and it's only getting worse. It exacts a very real toll.