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Twitter announced a new policy Thursday that it will place a warning label on tweets from world leaders that violate the company’s rules.
The policy, according to a Twitter blog post, applies to verified government officials and candidates with more than 100,000 followers.
“Our highest priority is to protect the health of the public conversation on Twitter, and an important part of that is ensuring our rules and how we enforce them are easy to understand,” the company said. “In the past, we’ve allowed certain Tweets that violated our rules to remain on Twitter because they were in the public’s interest, but it wasn’t clear when and how we made those determinations.”
News of the policy is leading many to speculate the change is a response to President Donald Trump, Twitter activity has been controversial, and at times dangerous for singling out private citizens and opening them up to harassment. Twitter has been criticized for failing to shut down Trump’s account, which repeatedly violates the social network’s rules and regulations. Twitter denies the new policy targets any politician in particular.
Twitter also says that tweets with a warning label added will have their reach significantly reduced and will not be accessible through the site’s safe search mode and Explore section.
“We’ll also take steps to make sure the Tweet is not algorithmically elevated on our service, to strike the right balance between enabling free expression, fostering accountability, and reducing the potential harm caused by these Tweets,” the company added.
Twitter further notes the policy will not be retroactive and is unlikely to be used frequently.
“We cannot predict the first time it will be used, but we wanted to give you more information about this new notice before you come across it on Twitter,” the social media site writes.
Trump, who has yet to weigh in on the new rule, is a frequent critic of social media companies and accuses them of bias against conservatives. During a meeting with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at the White House in April, Trump reportedly complained about his follower count.
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Mikael Thalen is a tech and security reporter based in Seattle, covering social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.