Trump Tweet About Violence Against Protesters Flagged, Bomb Threat Left

Impeached president Donald Trump is ratcheting up the rhetoric on Twitter as usual. One threat was flagged while another was left alone.

Sometimes, it is interesting to see what Twitter leaves up and which Tweet will get a gentle moderation touch. This is definitely true when it comes to impeached president Donald Trump. Trump, for his part, has been particularly out of control as of the last few weeks. This is because some of his tweets has been threatening violence. So, it isn’t really a stretch to say Trumps tweets have gotten to the level of being psychotic at times.

Of course, we should preface this article by pointing out Twitters rules and policies. Part of the rules states the following:

Violence: You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people. We also prohibit the glorification of violence. Learn more about our violent threat and glorification of violence policies.

Terrorism/violent extremism: You may not threaten or promote terrorism or violent extremism. Learn more.

It’s pretty cut and dry. Not only that, but it’s pretty non-controversial here. So, it is interesting to see how moderating the president has been handled in the last few days. In one Tweet, Trump posted the following:

In the event the Tweet gets deleted:

There will never be an “Autonomous Zone” in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!

Twitter, in response, posted the following:

This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about abusive behavior. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible. Learn more

In the Learn More link, Twitter links to a section in their community guidelines talking about public interest. This reads, in part:

Twitter generally actions Tweets that violate our rules. However, we recognize that sometimes it may be in the public interest to allow people to view Tweets that would otherwise be taken down. We consider content to be in the public interest if it directly contributes to understanding or discussion of a matter of public concern.

At present, we limit exceptions to one critical type of public-interest content—Tweets from elected and government officials—given the significant public interest in knowing and being able to discuss their actions and statements.

As a result, in rare instances, we may choose to leave up a Tweet from an elected or government official that would otherwise be taken down. Instead we will place it behind a notice providing context about the rule violation that allows people to click through to see the Tweet. Placing a Tweet behind this notice also limits the ability to engage with the Tweet through likes, Retweets, or sharing on Twitter, and makes sure the Tweet isn’t algorithmically recommended by Twitter. These actions are meant to limit the Tweet’s reach while maintaining the public’s ability to view and discuss it. Learn more about this notice and other enforcement actions.

So, a pretty clear following of the rules. However, there is actually another Tweet Trump posted earlier that is also a pretty clear example of violence.

In the event the Tweet gets deleted:

….Bolton broke the law and has been called out and rebuked for so doing, with a really big price to pay. He likes dropping bombs on people, and killing them. Now he will have bombs dropped on him!

There have been plenty of people campaigning to get as many people to report the tweet as possible. After all, this is a bomb threat by the US President directed at a US citizen. There is no trying to interpret it in some other way, it is a clear example of threatening not only violence, but death on an individual. For us, it raises eyebrows that Twitter felt the need to just leave it alone. Now, why this was left alone when the other tweet got flagged is puzzling and something we can only speculate on.

One angle is that John Bolton would theoretically have the money and resources to file a lawsuit against Trump. Protesters, on the other hand, might not have that opportunity. Whether a thought like that played a role in the decision to leave the bomb threat untouched is unclear.

Another angle on this is that the Bolton bomb threat targets a specific individual. Meanwhile, the other threat is targeted at a bunch of individuals. The community guidelines really doesn’t distinguish between these two scenarios, but it’s possible that the actual moderation decision might have taken that into account. Again, it’s speculation on our part.

Either way, threatening violence against people in this manner, whether Twitter feels like issuing a gentle tap of moderation or not, paints an incredibly unflattering picture of the US President. That’s, of course, putting it mildly. Every time Trump makes statements like this, it makes it harder and harder to debate whether moderation at scale effective or not. This is because it is becoming increasingly clear that the problem is not the platforms (Twitter, in this case, specifically) and moderating. What is clear is the problem is the US president and how his out of control behaviour should be dealt with.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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