Last month, Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey said at a congressional hearing that once President Donald Trump leaves office, he will no longer have access to the @FLOTUS, @POTUS, and @WhiteHouse accounts. They will pass to Joe Biden and his administration when he is sworn in as the 46th president at noon on January 20, 2021.
On Thursday, a spokesperson for Twitter told Forbes that Trump is on skating thin ice upon returning to private life, and that if he continues to post debunked conspiracy theories as well as fraudulent claims about the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic to the site’s platform, his personal accout, @realDonaldTrump, will be banned. It would probably be wise for him to avoid threatening nuclear armageddon again, too.
As president, Trump is shielded by Twitter’s “World Leaders Policy,” which allows tweets from politicians to remain visible even if they violate the normal terms of service. Likewise, Biden will enjoy the same cushioning for however long he serves in the White House.
“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 World Leaders Policy states.
A few weeks ago, Twitter told TechCrunch that “a critical function of our service is providing a place where people can openly and publicly respond to their leaders and hold them accountable. With this in mind, there are certain cases where it may be in the public’s interest to have access to certain Tweets, even if they would otherwise be in violation of our rules.”
When a tweet is untrue or in violation of user policies, Twitter hides it and slaps it with a warning label from its Civic Integrity Policy – a division that has seen more than its fair share of work during Trump’s tumultuous, single-term tenure.
“You may not use Twitter’s services for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes. This includes posting or sharing content that may suppress participation or mislead people about when, where, or how to participate in a civic process. In addition, we may label and reduce the visibility of Tweets containing false or misleading information about civic processes in order to provide additional context,” states the Civic Integrity Policy.
Twitter does this, it claims, in order to maintain a semblance of political neutraliy and to give the public access to what its leaders are saying, the veracity of their statements not withstanding.
But that VIP treatment evaporates the instant that Trump is no longer the country’s commander in chief.
“If an account suddenly is not a world leader anymore, that particular policy goes away,” Dorsey said at the November hearing.
Twitter – and this is no secret – is Trump’s life force and the primary conduit between him and his “millions” of irreverent followers.
Given his propensity for stirring up drama online, he will probably blow his last chance.
I don’t really care, do u?
Forty-seven days until the inauguration.
What's Your Reaction?
Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.