Twitter explains leaving up Trump's North Korea threat

Trump tweet apparently threatening violence allowed to stay up despite violating Twitter rules.

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Donald Trump's tweets sometimes stay on the site out of their "newsworthiness," despite apparently violating Twitter's rules.


President Donald Trump's escalating war of words with North Korea's leadership on Twitter has many wondering why some of his tweets aren't being deleted by the social media platform, despite their apparent violation of its rules.

Twitter's rules forbid using the service to make violent threats, either direct or indirect. Accounts violating that rule may be subject to a temporary or permanent suspension, Twitter warns.

Why, some might then ask, is a tweet sent by Trump on Saturday that appears to threaten North Korea allowed to remain on the site?  

The message was clear to Ri Yong Ho, North Korea's foreign minister. "Trump had ultimately declared war again last weekend, by saying regarding our leadership, that he will make it unable to last longer," Ri said, according to an NPR translation.

In a series of tweets Monday, Twitter acknowledged Trump's tweet had caused an uproar, but said it was allowed to stay because of its "newsworthiness."

"We hold all accounts to the same Rules, and consider a number of factors when assessing whether Tweets violate our Rules," Twitter wrote from its Policy account. "Among the considerations is 'newsworthiness' and whether a Tweet is of public interest.

"This has long been internal policy and we'll soon update our public-facing rules to reflect it. We need to do better on this, and will," the tweets continued.

Twitter's comments about special factors appear to conflict with statements the company made in July when it said Trump's account is accorded no special privilege just because he is the president.

"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," Del Harvey, the social network's head of trust and safety, told journalists in July.

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

Twitter didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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