Sometimes, public figures — like President Donald Trump — pop up with such loud and wrong tweets, you wonder how the they remained up. Usually, it’s due to Twitter’s newsworthiness clause, which hesitates to remove tweets if they’re in the public interest.
Now, Twitter is looking to add a feature that identifies tweets by public figures tweets that violate its rules. This was confirmed during an interview at a Washington-Post sponsored event where Twitter’s head of legal, policy, and trust, Vijaya Gadde, acknowledged that leaving tweets up opens up some problems.
“Today when we leave that content on the platform there’s no context around that,” Gadde said. “It just lives on Twitter and people can see it and they just assume that that’s the type of content or behavior that’s allowed by our rules.”
Twitter’s public interest clause has been controversial because some see it as giving public figures’ immunity. In reply to one Twitter user, CEO Jack Dorsey explained that it “doesn’t extend to all public figures by default, but does speak to global leaders and seeing how they think.”
It’s unclear what the new feature will look like since engineers are still working on it. One example Gadde gave, though, was that users would have to “click through” in order to see a tweet that falls under Twitter’s category for “dehumanization.”
The company does have a firm line when it comes to public figures’ speech, like not tolerating direct threats against anybody. Otherwise, a lot of things are kind of left up in the air.
It’s an interesting attempt to solve a problem, especially as Trump’s speech on Twitter continues to receive criticism.