Trump tweets may get slapped with Twitter's new warning label

You'll have to click or tap on a warning notice to see tweets that Twitter says violate its rules but are still in the public interest.

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Twitter bird symbol on a screen at Twitter's headquarters.

Twitter says it's trying to protect the health of the public conversation.

James Martin/CNET

Twitter is changing how it handles tweets from politicians and government leaders -- including President Donald Trump -- that violate its rules but are still in the public's interest. The social network on Thursday said it'll start placing a notice over tweets that break its rules, and users will have to clip or tap on the warning to see the tweet.


An example of what the notice will look like in Twitter feeds.


"Sometimes, we decide that it may be in the public's interest for certain Tweets to remain on Twitter, even if they would otherwise break our rules," the company's safety team said in a tweet. "We're going to start using a new notice to make it clear when we make these decisions."

The change will apply to verified government officials and political candidates, as well as people being considered for a government position, who have more than 100,000 followers. Before seeing the tweet, people will have to click on a notice that says, "The Twitter Rules about abusive behavior apply to this Tweet. However, Twitter has determined it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain available."

The change is part of Twitter's recent efforts to combat harassment and abuse on its site. The company has previously argued against removing problematic tweets from world leaders, including Trump, because they're considered in the public interest. 

President Trump, a prolific Twitter user, has on multiple occasions accused social media companies of being biased against conservatives. Social media companies, for their part, have apologized for how they've handled some conservative content, but deny any bias and say they don't censor political views. So far, Trump hasn't tweeted about Twitter's latest move. 

In addition to putting the notice over tweets that break its rules, Twitter said those tweets will appear less prominently on the site and won't show up in places like safe search or the Explore tab. The notice won't be applied to any tweets sent before Thursday.

A team including regional members will decide when to use the notice and consider things like the potential harm from the rule violation, whether preserving the tweet will let people hold politicians accountable and other factors.

The White House didn't respond to a request for comment.

Watch this: Senators grill Twitter and Facebook over alleged political bias

Originally published July 27 9:42 a.m. PT.
Updates, 10:06 a.m.: Adds more background. And June 28: Adds more details on Twitter's notice.