Twitter is creating a warning label to flag and suppress political tweets that break the platform’s rules on acceptable speech. It’s a bold step for the company, which has come under sharp criticism for its handling of tweets by major political figures including President Trump.
The company will not delete the offensive, bullying or hateful tweets of politicians. But, it announced in a blog post Thursday, it will begin marking them up. When a politician’s tweet breaks the rules, it will get hidden under a warning label that says:
“The Twitter Rules about abusive behavior apply to this Tweet. However, Twitter has determined it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain available.”
A user will have to click or tap to view.
The new measure applies to verified political leaders and candidates who have more than 100,000 followers. The abusive tweets will be ranked down by algorithms as well, thereby getting fewer views.
Twitter leadership once referred to the company as “the free speech wing of the free speech party.”
Those days are long gone. Following the massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, which was livestreamed on Facebook, Twitter entered a compact with other social media giants to more aggressively track down violent or extremist content. Meanwhile, Republican leaders have repeatedly accused Twitter and others of having an anti-conservative bias.
Last year, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in congressional testimony: “Twitter does not use political ideology to make any decisions, whether related to ranking content on our service or how we enforce our rules.”