Facing a request to boot President Trump from its platform, Twitter on Tuesday said that world leaders are not above its rules but defended its discretion to preserve some tweets that violate its policies.
In a blog post, Twitter said that when it comes to the actions of world leaders on Twitter, the company "focuses on the language of reported Tweets and do not attempt to determine all potential interpretations of the content or its intent."
"However, if a Tweet from a world leader does violate the Twitter Rules but there is a clear public interest value to keeping the Tweet on the service, we may place it behind a notice that provides context about the violation and allows people to click through should they wish to see the content," the social microblogging company said.
Twitter also noted there were cases when the company may not act, such as when heads of state have “direct interactions” with their peers or engage in “foreign policy saber rattling on economic and military issues,” which it said are not violations of rules. Nor would the company seek to “determine all potential interpretations of the content or its intent,” it said.
Twitter added that "accounts of world leaders are not above our policies entirely." Areas that will result in enforcement action for any account on Twitter include promotion of terrorism; clear and direct threats of violence against an individual; posting private information, such as a home address or non-public personal phone number; posting or sharing intimate photos or videos of someone that were produced or distributed without their consent; engaging in behaviors relating to child sexual exploitation; and encouraging or promoting self-harm.
"In other cases involving a world leader, we will err on the side of leaving the content up if there is a clear public interest in doing so," Twitter added.
The new guidelines from Twitter came two weeks after Sen. Kamala Harris of California, a Democratic presidential contender, asked the company to suspend President Trump’s account, claiming his online communications “put people at risk and our democracy in danger.”