10 times Trump should’ve been suspended for violating Twitter rules, but wasn’t

James Besanvalle
Wednesday 27 May 2020 12:00
news
Image:(Getty)

For the very first time, Twitter has slapped a fact check on president Donald Trump’s tweets and he is absolutely fuming about it.

The POTUS took to the social media platform to rant about mail-in ballots and falsely claimed they’d be “anything less than substantially fraudulent” (among other unsubstantiated claims).

Featured with a big exclamation mark, the fact check states “Get the facts about mail-in ballots”:

Around 10 hours later, Trump noticed the fact check and again took to Twitter to rage:

Twitter’s “Rules and Policies” section outlines what is and what isn’t acceptable to tweet.

It seems Trump’s latest infringement goes against the platform’s “Authenticity” guideline when it comes to “Election Integrity”, which states:

You may not use Twitter’s services for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections. This includes posting or sharing content that may suppress voter turnout or mislead people about when, where, or how to vote.

But it’s not the first time Trump has seemingly violated Twitter’s clear code of conduct.

So why is it the first time a fact box has been placed on his tweets?

Twitter has yet to publicly address why this incident in particular warranted the fact box – and is unlikely to, having previously said “We don't comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons” – but it said in a policy first laid out in June 2019 and later clarified in October that same year:

We assess reported Tweets from world leaders against the Twitter Rules, which are designed to ensure people can participate in the public conversation freely and safely.

Under those rules, tweets by world leaders that violate the platform's policies will stay online if they have a "clear public interest value”.

There's also a special rule for world leaders that states:

Direct interactions with fellow public figures, comments on political issues of the day, or foreign policy saber-rattling on economic or military issues are generally not in violation

That means world leaders can technically tweet things us regular folk usually wouldn’t get away with.

In light of that, we’ve compiled a list of Donald Trump’s tweets that probably should’ve been fact checked, taken down or gotten the POTUS suspended from the social media platform.

1. ‘If crazy Megyn Kelly didn't cover me so much on her terrible show, her ratings would totally tank’

– 6 August 2015

Before Donald Trump became president, he went on a very public tirade against Fox News host Megyn Kelly. He called her names like “crazy”, “sick”, “dopey”, “overrated” and “bimbo” in numerous tweets lasting over nine months.

In our view, these tweets would violate the Twitter rule: “You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so.”

2. ‘Fraud News CNN’

– 2 July 2017

Donald Trump tweeted a photoshopped video of himself attacking CNN.

In a statement, CNN said that it was “a sad day when the President of the United States encourages violence against reporters.”

In our view, this tweet would violate the Twitter rule: “You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people. We also prohibit the glorification of violence.”

3. ‘I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!’

– 3 January 2018

In our view, this tweet would violate the Twitter rule: “You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people. We also prohibit the glorification of violence.”

4. ‘If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!’

– 24 September 2017

This tweet would violate the Twitter rule: “You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people. We also prohibit the glorification of violence.”

5. ‘NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES’

– 23 July 2018

In our view, this tweet would violate the Twitter rule: “You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people. We also prohibit the glorification of violence.”

6. ‘Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came’

– 14 July 2019

Trump took aim at congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar.

In our view, this tweet would violate the Twitter rules against both “targeted harassment” and promoting “violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”

7. ‘Was this person SPYING on the U.S. President? Big Consequences!’

– 27 September 2019

Senator Kamala Harris wrote to Twitter to argue that this series of Trump’s tweets against the Ukraine whistleblower should be classified as “targeted harassment” and therefore breaking the Twitter Rules.

8. ‘I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey’

– 7 October 2019

In our view, these tweets would violate the Twitter rule: “You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people. We also prohibit the glorification of violence.”

9. ‘Iran itself WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD’

– 4 January 2020

In our view, tweets would violate the Twitter rule: “You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people. We also prohibit the glorification of violence.”

10. ‘I find Joe to be a total Nut Job’

– 26 May 2020

Timothy Klausutis, the widow of Lori Klausutis – who died in 2001 while working at MSNBC host Joe Scarborough's former congressional office in Florida – wrote to Twitter to ask them to delete Trump’s tweets.

Twitter said it was “sorry” for the pain caused by Trump’s tweets but they will not remove them.

Klausutis wrote in his letter:

My request is simple: Please delete these tweets. I'm a research engineer and not a lawyer, but reviewed all of Twitter's rules and terms of service. The President's tweet that suggests that Lori was murdered without evidence and contrary to the official autopsy is a violation of Twitter's community rules and terms of service. An ordinary user like me would be banished from the platform for such a tweet but I am only asking that these tweets be removed.

And there you have it – one rule for us and another rule for world leaders like Donald Trump.

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