Twitter said it views its role as a platform for global, public conversation. Elected leaders, it notes, play a crucial role in this conversation.
“Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets, would hide important information people should be able to see and debate,” Twitter said in a blog post. “It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.”
There have been repeated calls for Twitter to ban Trump since his election in 2016, as the president uses the platform to attack critics, peddle conspiracy theories and engage in nuclear brinksmanship. Critics allege these tweets violate Twitter’s terms of service that prohibit inciting violence.
The activist group Color of Change launched a petition drive, urging Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to kick Trump off the playform, citing the escalating war of words with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un.
Please kick Donald Trump off Twitter. Now, he’s using the social media platform to threaten nuclear war. Donald Trump has launched an assault on the very communities that drives Twitter to flourish. His abusive behavior has violated your user agreement multiple times while rising to power by promoting hateful conduct towards Black people by providing succor to white nationalists after Charlottesville, he has promoted violent threats against protesters, he’s called for the mass harassment of Latinx folks, and Muslims. Trump has used Twitter to destroy the very discourse and community your company has aided in fostering.
Twitter says it reviews tweets by leaders within their political context and enforces rules accordingly. It batted down the suggestion that Twitter benefits financially by being the president’s communications platform of choice.
“No one person’s account drives Twitter’s growth, or influences these decisions,” Twitter wrote. “We work hard to remain unbiased with the public interest in mind.”