Donald Trump’s retweets of extremists will stay on his profile, Twitter has said.
The controversial Britain First tweets will remain visible for everyone to see on the President’s profile because they allow users to “see every side of an issue”. The site recognised that the tweets were controversial and suggested they would otherwise violate its rules, but said that the posts would remain “because we believe there is a legitimate public interest in [their] availability”.
Twitter has repeatedly made reference to the newsworthiness of Mr Trump’s tweets as the reason they stay up when they would otherwise likely result in either the post or his whole account being removed.
And it has made that point once again, after the President retweeted posts from Jayda Fransen, from the far-right extremist group Britain First. Those tweets included one that claimed to show a boy being killed, and the moment of his death – something that would usually be inexcusable on the site.
As well as igniting an unprecedented international row, the tweets appear to be very much in breach of Twitter’s terms of service. The rules that every user signs up to include restrictions on using the site to target specific racial and religious groups, and against showing gratuitous violence.
But the site has confirmed that it will be keeping those tweets around because there is public interest in them.
“As appropriate, we take action against content that violates our terms of service, including hiding some content behind sensitive media filters,” a Twitter spokesperson said.
“As our Help Center notes: “To help ensure people have an opportunity to see every side of an issue, there may be the rare occasion when we allow controversial content or behavior which may otherwise violate our Rules to remain on our service because we believe there is a legitimate public interest in its availability. Each situation is evaluated on a case by case basis and ultimately decided upon by a cross-functional team.”
In the wake of the row over the Britain First tweets, numerous MPs called on Twitter to completely delete the President’s account if he wouldn’t do it himself.