Twitter keeps Trump’s tweets, says it considers public interest and newsworthiness

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about the violence, injuries and deaths at the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville as he talks to the media in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 15, 2017. Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

US President Donald Trump’s tweets may not be taken down because they are “newsworthy” and in the public interest. The US leader is not suspended on Twitter despite his tweet targeting North Korea, which appeared to violate some guidelines. The company, however, has an explanation.

“We hold all accounts to the same rules, and consider a number of factors when assessing whether Tweets violate our rules,” the company wrote in a post. It added that among the considerations are whether the tweet is of public interest and newsworthiness.

The company said that such has long been internal policy, and that it will soon update its public-facing rules to reflect it. Twitter recognised it needs to do better on this, and assured it will.

Over the weekend, the POTUS tweeted a message about North Korea and dictator Kim Jong-un that suggested a thinly veiled threat. According to Twitter guidelines, it forbids “threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.”

'Declaration of War'

Over the weekend, Trump tweeted a message about North Korea and dictator Kim Jong-un that included a thinly veiled threat. In his tweet, the POTUS shared that he heard about the foreign minister of North Korea speak at UN. “If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!” he added.

North Korea appeared to have taken the “won’t be around much longer” part of Trump’s post as a threat. On Monday, the country’s foreign minister said it was a “clear declaration of war.”

It also emerged on Monday that an Iranian missile launch, which Trump mentioned in a tweet, had not actually happened. He tweeted, “Iran just test-fired a Ballistic Missile capable of reaching Israel.”

Some wondered why Twitter had not removed the president’s tweet. Violation of Twitter’s rules usually means the tweet is taken down and the account is suspended.

A spokesperson for Twitter clarified to Recode that the company’s latest post did not intend to confirm that Trump’s tweet violated its rules. It only pointed that “newsworthiness” is one factor used internally to determine whether or not to take a tweet down.

CEO Jack Dorsey appeared to have previously defended Trump’s tweeting. He said he believes it is important to have “these conversations” out in the open, rather than have them behind closed doors. The company has not acknowledged publicly that the POTUS has violated any of its guidelines.

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