Did Trump violate Twitter’s terms of service with ‘locked and loaded’ tweet?

Photo via Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr (CC-BY)

Kal Penn’s response to the president’s Twitter missive is going viral.

Donald Trump escalated his war of words with North Korean President Kim Jong-un Friday on Twitter, and some are questioning whether the president violated the app’s terms of service in the process.

Following a series of off-the-cuff remarks, Trump doubled-down on his willingness to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea if the secluded nation continues to test its nuclear capabilities and threaten the United States. In an early morning tweet, he wrote: “Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!”

The move followed North Korea’s threat to target Guam, an isolated U.S. territory in the Western Pacific Ocean. Trump proceeded to retweet U.S. Pacific Command’s photos of its fight bombers. The implications were clear, and while the tweet was in-line with Trump’s overall bombast and rhetoric, his use of Twitter to fire a warning shot led actor and former White House Associate Director of Public Engagement Kal Penn to question whether he should still have access to the platform.

“Hey @Twitter, is threatening nuclear war not a violation of terms of service?” Penn wrote in a tweet that has been favorited over 76,000 times.

In case you’re unfamiliar with Twitter’s terms of service, Penn followed up with a screengrab that illustrated the behavior Twitter will supposedly not tolerate, which includes “violent threats” and “wishes for the physical harm, death, or disease of individuals or groups.”

Of course, Twitter has a long, toxic history with harassment, and while it’s made some notable strides in recent months, the company has largely failed to curb hate speech and threats on the platform. It’s unlikely that Twitter would consider banning Trump, considering he’s the president of the United States and doing so would almost certainly result in disaster for the company. But it’s enough to make one question the value of the service.

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