Twitter senior managers haven't ruled out banning US President Donald Trump from the popular social media platform. Although bellicose tweets by some politicians can be newsworthy, the company's speech policy "is not a blanket exception for the president or anyone else," Twitter's legal and policy chief, Vijaya Gadde, said in an interview with the news outlet Politico.
In the same interview, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted he received phone notifications for Trump's tweets. However, Dorsey said he would ride the fence when asked whether he would ban Trump for possibly violating Twitter practices. "We have to balance it with the context that it's in," he said. "So my role is to ask questions and make sure we're being impartial, and we're upholding consistently our terms of service, including public interest."
In early January, Twitter said in a statement on its corporate blog that blocking a world leader from the platform or deleting their tweets would "hide important information" from people. "It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions."
The US president is a well-known Twitter enthusiast, who runs both an official and a personal account. The latter is an endless source of controversial comments, often targeted at media persons and foreign politicians, which immediately make international headlines.
Last month, he called his former political aide, Omarosa Manigault Newman, "wacky and deranged" after she claimed she heard a tape in which Trump utters the N-word.
.@MarkBurnettTV called to say that there are NO TAPES of the Apprentice where I used such a terrible and disgusting word as attributed by Wacky and Deranged Omarosa. I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have. She made it up. Look at her MANY recent quotes saying….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 14 августа 2018 г.
In a viral all-caps post in July, Trump threatened his Iranian counterpart, President Rouhani, with "consequences the likes of which" few countries have ever suffered before. This came after Rouhani warned Trump that a war with Iran would be "the mother of all wars."
To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 23 июля 2018 г.
All this, not to mention Trump's past war of words with North Korea and recent attacks on the FBI and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
On Wednesday, Jack Dorsey will take part in congressional hearings alongside Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg on their platforms' content practices and transparency efforts amid perceived concerns about anti-conservative biases and foreign election interference.
This comes after a Vice report claimed in July that Twitter was censoring accounts of Republican politicians, limiting their visibility in search results. Twitter denied the allegations and ascribed the alleged shadow banning to a "glitch," while admitting that it may have affected more Republicans than Democrats.
The FBI has launched an investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Russia has been accused of trying to sway the vote in favor of Republic candidate Donald Trump, including by using fraudulent Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Both Russia and Donald Trump have dismissed the accusations, claiming that no evidence of so-called "meddling" has been provided.