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Twitter Communications Government Social Networks The Internet United States Politics

Why Twitter Hasn't Banned President Trump (theverge.com) 449

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Amid vocal calls for the company to act, Twitter today offered its first explanation for why it hasn't banned President Donald Trump -- without ever saying the man's name. "Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation because of their outsized impact on our society," the company said in a blog post. "Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets, would hide important information people should be able to see and debate. It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions." In its blog post, Twitter reiterated its previous statement that all accounts still must follow the company's rules. The statement seemed to leave open the possibility that it might one day take action against Trump's account, or the accounts of other world leaders who might use the platform to incite violence or otherwise break its rules. "We review Tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly," it said. In response to the claims that Twitter doesn't ban President Trump because he draws attention -- and ad revenue -- to the company, Twitter said: "No one person's account drives Twitter's growth, or influences these decisions. We work hard to remain unbiased with the public interest in mind."
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Why Twitter Hasn't Banned President Trump

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Like the GOP lately

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 05, 2018 @11:42PM (#55873421)

      Twitter hasn't banned Donald Trump because he has done nothing to warrant banning.

      Being an assclown with opinions that you don't like is not a justification for banning someone. Otherwise the Internet would be quite empty.

      • by vix86 ( 592763 )

        Being an assclown with opinions that you don't like is not a justification for banning someone. Otherwise the Internet would be quite empty.

        Of course its justification enough. r/the_donald does that quite often. Twitter is not beholden to the 1st amendment on their platform. Twitter is a private platform held together by private money. They could ban every politician, government, media outlet, and bureaucrat from Twitter tomorrow and the most that would happen would be a media firestorm and the eventual likely collapse of their company.

      • by that's-so-kash ( 1561847 ) on Saturday January 06, 2018 @10:19AM (#55874977)

        Amen. Hallelujah, Pass the Tylenol.

        the _Idea_ that we _Must_ silence people who offend us? Needs to be taken out back and shot. Preferably after a long rubber hose and baseball bat session.

        You cannot silence dissent. You cannot silence opposing thought. You cannot silence people for speaking in ways you take offense to. Especially not in america. And you should be Horrified that it happens now.

        Because one day you'll be the opposing viewpoint.

  • what's crazy isn't that they don't block him, what's crazy is that the things he says have gotten so out there they have to apologize for not blocking him.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 05, 2018 @11:50PM (#55873453)

      Amazing how for some people, their only desire is to silence those they disagree with.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by willoughby ( 1367773 )

        Oh yeah, right. Like if the POTUS can't post on Twitter he'll have no way to communicate with the nation. So taking away his Twitter account would "silence" Donald Trump.

        Christ, I only wish it were so.

        • by RedK ( 112790 )

          You know, you can just not read his tweets if you don't like what he says ?

          Some of us enjoy his candor and his trolling skills.

          • I don't read his tweets. I don't Twitter at all. My complaint is that whenever President Trump writes anything in Twitter, all proper news reporting and editorial news filtering is brought to its knees and all of the media here in the US rabidly echo the tweet, an analysis of the tweet, multiple interviews with politicians about the tweet, on and on ad infinitum.

            Meanwhile, real events around the world are completely ignored by the US news media. To use a term from the old newspaper days, none of the Tweets

            • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashiki.gmail@com> on Saturday January 06, 2018 @01:24AM (#55873793) Homepage

              That's not a Trump problem, that's a media problem. More so that media are chasing that "always first" "always sweet-sweet ad revenue" and so on. Welcome to the shitshow that always-on 24hr news media has created, and welcome to the ever increasing irrelevance that the news media has helped create. It also doesn't help that there is very low public trust of the media in general, or that when people point out that they have indeed fucked up, engaged in unethical practices, or whatever else. The media's response is to screech "IT'S NOT US! IT'S YOU!" Queue this up with Journolist [wikipedia.org], Gamejournopros [techraptor.net] and so on all pushing narritives, talking points, and so on. Or media outlet's directly handing off their news stories to political parties to make sure that the "story narrative is correct." [dailycaller.com]

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by RedK ( 112790 )

              So you want to ban the man from tweeting because the media in the US only care to push their anti-Trump narrative and thus try to dissect his tweets to make them sound bad/worse instead of reporting actual news ? Maybe instead of removing his freedom to tweet, you should do something about the "Fake News media", like watch actual news instead of CNN/MSNBC.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Sure, you can skip reading the tweets. I do; I've never used the site at all. And if he was just another Twitter troll who could be ignored by staying away from that cesspool, that would be super. The problem is, he is the President of the United States. Ignoring the ramifications of what he does - yes, including on Twitter - isn't really possible if you have to live in the US. Or outside of it, for that matter. Trump tweets about moving the capital of Israel and the next day there are protests in the stree
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Of course you wish it were so, thanks for making GP's point again.

          You and the rest want to deny everyone you disagree with any platform to speak, don't give us this hypocritical BS. We've seen your playbook and the rules in it only apply to other people. We know about the heckler's veto and we're not buying this crap. You don't give a single real damn about anything but having power.

          If you can't take disagreement, then we're just going to disagree even louder until you grow up or get lost.

      • when the disagreement is 'Do we go to nuclear war with North Korea or not?'. There are some opinions that are completely, total, utterly, patently wrong. This is one of them. There are some opinions so abhorrent that when somebody expresses them you shout them down. There's no other sane response. You don't have to lock them up, but you don't give them a bloody podium; especially not for something as trivial as a little ad revenue.
  • by Jarwulf ( 530523 ) on Friday January 05, 2018 @11:41PM (#55873411)
    I understand a lot of people don't like him but its not like he makes random posts with the n word or anything like that.
    • I understand a lot of people don't like him but its not like he makes random posts with the n word or anything like that.

      Because social justice! Away with you and your white male western capitalist logic, foul villain!

    • Even Slashdot filters the "n" word...

  • No rules (Score:5, Informative)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Friday January 05, 2018 @11:42PM (#55873419)
    Twitter rejects its own rules. The Twitler in Chief is the best advertisement they could have. They'd never shut him down, he's making them millions. Money trumps contracts or ethics.
    • Re:No rules (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashiki.gmail@com> on Saturday January 06, 2018 @05:08AM (#55874299) Homepage

      Not true in the least, Twitter has ethics of a sort. But those ethics only support a particular view point, and in this case Trump feeds the people who are screeching that "Trump's goin' down, really now, any time, RUSSSIA RUUUUUSSSSIIIIIIIAAAA!" If they were being truly ethical, they would have banned terrorist groups that use it, or banned black bloc and antifa members who openly supported, promoted, or engaged in violence. Instead you've got multiple cases where the people who were victimized by them were banned.

      Just remember who their "trust and safety council" [twitter.com] is, and it suddenly becomes very clear what form of ethics and viewpoint they're going with.

  • by DERoss ( 1919496 ) on Friday January 05, 2018 @11:52PM (#55873457)

    I believe it is very important to expose the jackass for what he is and not to hide him. Hiding Trump's mutterings would be far more dangerous to our democracy than anything he tweets.

    • by Z80a ( 971949 )

      That could be said about pretty much anyone on the platform.
      Better to murder the bad ideas in an easy accessible place rather than sweeping under the rug and letting em grow in a platform where no opposition will be found.

  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Friday January 05, 2018 @11:58PM (#55873475)

    People are getting tired of twitter's extremely biased censorship.

    Gab.ai is a real alternative. Trump has over 40 million followers. Twitter is already hurting.

    If Trump leaves, how many people will follow Trump over to Gab.ai?

    • I'm Australian, so not tied to either of the USA's major political parties, but it doesn't take more than a brief skim of the main page to know that gab.ai is heavily republican leaning; the articles there currently are overtly focused on discrediting democrats. It's often quite complicated to dissect censorship or coverage and determine whether it's biased or not; our local public broadcaster was audited recently(ish) and turned out to be neutral, even though one side was utterly convinced it was extremely

      • by RedK ( 112790 )

        Gab.ai is a social media network, it's not a news site. They also do not censor anyone. There is no republican lean. If you want to follow democrats on Gab.ai, you can do so, and your feed will be democrat leaning.

        Unlike Twitter, they don't go out of their way to ban republicans and other right wing folk though.

        • by jrumney ( 197329 )

          There is no republican lean. If you want to follow democrats on Gab.ai,

          The site's icon is Pepe the fucking frog. The notion that this is an unbiased site where you can have a democrat leaning feed if you want it is laughable.

          • by RedK ( 112790 )

            The site's icon is Pepe the fucking frog. The notion that this is an unbiased site where you can have a democrat leaning feed if you want it is laughable.

            Pepe is bi-partisan. Pepe is used by everyone. You just mean progressives don't like Pepe because Hillary Clinton hated pepe and the SPLC dubbed it a hate symbol out of sheer ignorance of Internet culture. Progressives are just the radical wing of the Democrats after all. I'm sure you're a much more sensible liberal, not someone who thinks a cartoon frog used in memes is a hate symbol.

          • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

            The site's icon is Pepe the fucking frog.

            If you think a "cartoon frog" is such a big symbol of something, all you're doing is showing just how partisan you are and how much you absolutely have to believe the talking points that were presented to you. Because if you question it, then you're no longer part of the club are you?

  • If Trump weren't on Twitter all the time, they would have gone out of business long ago. They are getting tons of free advertising from him.

  • If the President does it, it's not against Twitter's rules. By definition.

  • Maybe they figure the best way to keep him from getting reelected is to let him keep talking. Were they pro-Trump, they might be like his staff and try to keep him from talking (see 60 minutes interview [hollywoodreporter.com]).
  • Horsefeathers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IonOtter ( 629215 ) on Saturday January 06, 2018 @12:13AM (#55873539) Homepage

    There is Donald J. Trump's personal account [twitter.com], and then the POTUS account. [twitter.com]

    Ban Trump's personal account, and force him to use the POTUS account.

  • Well isn't that just doubleplusgood?
  • They would lose millions of users overnight and their growth potential would go right into the toilet. This is a company that has never made a profit but survives on the promise of future profits.

    Twitter would be as relevant as Steve Bannon this time next year if they banned Trump.

  • Don't play speech police. Yes, private property and all, but it's a statement of fact that your customers don't take too kindly to a platform that promises a public forum (speech) but with an asterisk. You don't look too good censoring one side but not the other already. You look worse when you give people in power a pass that ordinary users don't get. No way out of this one. Either complete freedom or complete lock-down.
  • by nsaspook ( 20301 ) on Saturday January 06, 2018 @12:29AM (#55873591) Homepage

    This policy does not apply to military or government entities.
    https://blog.twitter.com/offic... [twitter.com]

  • The Verge (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Grieviant ( 1598761 ) on Saturday January 06, 2018 @12:46AM (#55873657)
    Exactly the kind of bullshit article I've come to expect from The Verge, as they continue to push far-left clickbait in a desperate attempt to remain relevant. They're approaching the level of BuzzFeed at this point. What's incredible is that anyone continues to pay attention to the ham-fisted Trump condemnations that are now the bread and butter of these publications, and apparently the only kind of article they're capable to producing. Online journalism has become so lazy it's almost unbelievable.
  • Although Twitter's PR department raises several thought-provoking, manufactured points, there is a simpler reason evident to all: because Trump is the most powerful man on the world and there's every reason to believe that he'd damage or destroy Twitter if provoked.

  • You can argue a lot about what Trump says, but it is still foolish to believe that it serves the goal of a transparent republic to silence anyone, espececially the guy the runs 1/3 of the Federal government and the worldâ(TM)s most powerful military. If he talks shit, let him. If he makes an ass out himself, so be it. Are you really so naive as to think that it serves any purpose to keep those tendencies bottled up or limit the outlets for them?
  • Banning Trump from twitter will have no impact on him. He can release the same vitriol from the whitehouse website or some right-wing twitter equivalent website and have more deniability. People will see what he says because he is the president â" he will gather the same amountnof attention.

    Twitter needs Trump, Trump doesnâ(TM)t need twitter.

  • ... everything they put forth should be a matter of public record, and it should be a high crime to delete/tamper with it at all.
  • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Saturday January 06, 2018 @05:26AM (#55874341) Homepage

    "No one person's account drives Twitter's growth..."

    That's true, because Twitter has no growth. The number of users flattened out about two years ago - any growth since 2015 is minimal, and possibly faked. Meanwhile, Twitter continues to bleed money. Twitter is in a slow-motion death spiral, and desperately hoping that someone - anyone - will buy it.

    Twitter doesn't dare block Trump's account, because they could instantly lose all Trump followers as users. Twitter currently has around 300 million users. Trump has 46 million followers. So they could lose more than 10% of their users in one blow, and that would be the beginning of the end.

  • by GrandCow ( 229565 ) on Saturday January 06, 2018 @08:23AM (#55874717)
    "Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation"

    OK. I can get behind that. Elected leaders have a bigger say than just some scrub. Their influence is more impactful, so they should be given some leniency on what they say.

    If their views are so important that they are allowed around the rules, why are they allowed to delete their tweets then? I don't mean 10 seconds after they clicked post and saw they made a massive spelling error. I mean why is Trump allowed to go back and retroactively delete every tweet he made praising people he backed but then lost their elections?

    Fuck you Twitter. You are full of shit. The only reason you haven't blocked our retard in chief is that he keeps views coming to you for those sweet advertising dollars.

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