Twitter explains why it’s one rule for Trump and another for you

On paper, Twitter has a zero-tolerance policy towards online abuse and threats. The trouble is that paper seems to be locked away in a safe that nobody can remember the combination of. While the rules pretty clearly state that violent threats aren’t tolerated, the evidence is that they usually are.

This is doubly true if you happen to be in the centre of the predictably small Venn diagram between “Twitter users” and “serving presidents of the United States”. Donald Trump’s brand of “modern-day presidential” frequently involves him doing things that would see other users banned from the service, but suffice it to say the company handles the president with kid gloves. He’s just far too valuable for a company that’s still haemorrhaging money – proving to be catnip to citizens and newsrooms alike, who know full well that the latest White House news won’t be in the form of a carefully crafted press release, but spewed out in 140 characters or fewer. Most likely with Caps Lock engaged for some of those.

Twitter knows that banning Donald Trump would kill off its star attraction, so it’s pretty much ruled it out, no matter what he does next. Now the company’s had a go at justifying its logic without using the words “ad revenue” or “shareholders”. After all, if the company claims that “violent threats” are a banning offence, you can’t get much more violent than promising that a country “won’t be around much longer,” right?

Well, no, but according to Twitter it comes down to newsworthiness. Here’s the explanation straight from the company:

In other words, when you’re leader of the free world, you can do what you like on Twitter too. Until then, you’ll have to play by the rules and not act like a total jerk.

Not everyone is happy with Twitter’s favouritism, of course. There’s a high-profile attempt to buy a controlling share in the company in order to ban Trump, but given it has raised only $88,920 of its $1 billion target, the chances are the president will be a private citizen again before any sacks of cash are waved in front of Jack Dorsey’s face.

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