Twitter has always been one rule for me, another for thee when it comes to enforcing its rules — especially with regards to politicians. The firm has now come up with a way to mark these tweets as problematic and limit their spread. The firm reasons that tweets from public officials are in the public interest and so can be left up, but it will do nothing to artificially boost such tweets and will mark them as rule breaking before users of the service can view them.
“There are certain cases where it may be in the public’s interest to have access to certain Tweets, even if they would otherwise be in violation of our rules,” Twitter explained on Thursday, “On the rare occasions when this happens, we’ll place a notice – a screen you have to click or tap through before you see the Tweet – to provide additional context and clarity. We’ll also take steps to make sure the Tweet is not algorithmically elevated on our service, to strike the right balance between enabling free expression, fostering accountability, and reducing the potential harm caused by these Tweets. ”
These rules will only apply to accounts which are verified, have more than 100, 000 followers and represent a government official or someone in the running for said position. The firm will obviously now leave up direct calls for violence as those serve no one’s interest but will apply this notice to other tweets which would ordinarily be removed but for the status of the individual in question.
Twitter has critiqued for the opaque nature of its decision making over the past few years, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.