Amid vocal calls for the company to act, Twitter today offered its first explanation for why it hasn’t banned President Donald Trump — without ever saying the man’s name. “Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation because of their outsized impact on our society,” the company said in a blog post. “Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets, would hide important information people should be able to see and debate. It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.”
Twitter has faced regular calls to ban Trump since he was elected in 2016. Among other things, critics have accused Trump of inciting violence with his tweets. This week, a tweet invoking the prospect of nuclear war escalated tensions with North Korea, but was allowed to remain on the service. Protesters projected critical slogans on the walls outside Twitter headquarters as a result. Today, the nonprofit group Color of Change announced a new effort to get Trump banned from Twitter.
In its blog post, Twitter reiterated its previous statement that all accounts still must follow the company’s rules. The statement seemed to leave open the possibility that it might one day take action against Trump’s account, or the accounts of other world leaders who might use the platform to incite violence or otherwise break its rules. “We review Tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly,” it said.
The company also pushed back against an oft-tweeted refrain of the company’s critics, that it only allows Trump to keep tweeting because it draws attention — and ad revenue — to the company. “No one person’s account drives Twitter’s growth, or influences these decisions,” the company said. “We work hard to remain unbiased with the public interest in mind.”