Twitter Rules: You may not make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people.
We consider violent threats to be explicit statements of one’s intent to kill or inflict serious physical harm against another person. This includes, but is not limited to, threatening to murder someone.
Ok, so that’s from Twitter’s official TOU.
Read it again, and tell me how this isn’t a violation:
That is as close as you can get to threatening to nuke an entire country, an act which would result directly in the mass murder of God only knows how many Koreans.
Well in light of that rather outlandish 280-character outburst, Twitter has come under renewed pressure from critics that believe Trump should not be allowed to use the platform to raise the threat of a nuclear confrontation.
For their part, Twitter said on Tuesday that the tweet above is not a “specific threat,” and therefore Trump isn’t subject to any disciplinary action.
Obviously, that’s ridiculous. If that were some random person tweeting about some other random person and instead of “nuclear button” the weapon was “kitchen knife,” it would read something like this:
My neighbor Bob says he has a big, sharp kitchen knife. Will someone please remind Bob that I too have a kitchen knife but mine is much bigger and much sharper than his and I know how to use it!
The only reason Twitter isn’t suspending Trump is because he’s Trump and because there’s something so surreal about him threatening to nuke another country on social media that no one knows quite what to make of it.
Well that, and the fact that if Twitter banned Trump, the backlash from the White House would be something akin to “fire and fury the likes of which” no tech CEO “has ever seen before.”
Meanwhile, some folks are not amused. Consider this from The Verge:
Protestors in San Francisco organizing under the name Resistance SF responded with a message of their own: projecting the phrase “@jack is #complicit” onto the walls of Twitter’s headquarters. In an accompanying Facebook post, the group said that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was “[breaking] the rules of his own company” and “[endangering] the world” by letting Trump keep his account. The group says Dorsey should “resign or ban @realDonaldTrump,” and is planning a protest outside Twitter’s San Francisco offices this Wednesday, January 3rd.
If Twitter needs an out (which they clearly do), they can always lean on multiple technicalities mentioned in the same guidelines cited here at the outset. For instance, there’s an exemption (of sorts) for war. Consider this:
We consider glorification of violence to be behavior that condones or celebrates violence (and/or its perpetrators) in a manner that may promote imitation of the act. We also prohibit the glorification of violence where protected categories have been the primary target or victim.
Some examples of behavior that would not fall under this policy include:
- acts of war
- military attacks
- state-sanctioned executions
- natural disasters
I don’t know about you, but it’s almost as if Twitter’s rules are specifically designed to exempt Donald Trump.
Whatever the case, you can bet this is a problem that isn’t going away for Twitter and you’d hate to be Jack right now because he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.