Twitter permanently banned the President of the United States on Friday, taking a major step and limiting Trump’s ability to communicate with his followers. Given his encouragement to violently invade the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, this decision seemed to be sudden to anyone not particularly familiar with his Twitter identity.
In fact, Twitter gave Trump many, many opportunities during the four years of Trump’s presidency, keeping him on the platform because the company believes that even if the rules are violated, the speech of world leaders is in the public interest.
Now that Trump is gone, we have a very interesting glimpse of the policy decision that led to Twitter’s fall on Friday.
The company first announced Trump’s ban in a series of tweets on its @TwitterSafety account but also linked to a blog post detailing its thinking.
In that in-depth investigation, the company explained that after Trump was suspended, he provided Trump with one last chance, and then restored the account of the violation he committed on Wednesday.
But the next day, the president issued two tweets that overthrew him. Twitter stated that these tweets (pictured below) were not individually checked, but based on his recent behavior and events this week.
Twitter wrote: “…we determined that these tweets violated the violent glory policy, and the user @realDonaldTrump should immediately and permanently deactivate the service.”
This is how the company explains its reasoning point by point:
- “President Trump’s statement that he will not be attending the Inauguration is being received by a number of his supporters as further confirmation that the election was not legitimate and is seen as him disavowing his previous claim made via two Tweets (1, 2) by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Dan Scavino, that there would be an ‘orderly transition’ on January 20th.
- “The second Tweet may also serve as an encouragement to those potentially considering violent acts that the Inauguration would be a ‘safe’ target, as he will not be attending.
- “The use of the words ‘American Patriots’ to describe some of his supporters is also being interpreted as support for those committing violent acts at the US Capitol.
- “The mention of his supporters having a ‘GIANT VOICE long into the future’ and that ‘They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!’ is being interpreted as a further indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an ‘orderly transition’ and instead of that he plans to continue to support, empower, and shield those who believe he won the election.
- “Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021.”
All of this is very intuitive, although his most ardent supporters are unlikely to agree. Ultimately, these decisions, and how they ultimately depend on established policies, involve a lot of subjective analysis and interpretation.
When trying to make algorithms difficult as social media companies do, a group of people trying to find the best solution stops.
Twitter’s explanation here provides a rare, completely transparent glimpse into how the social network determines continued development and development.