American social networking giant, Twitter, on Thursday announced it would take down tweets by politicians for violating its rules and if reviews do not find it in favour of the public interest.
Quoting Twitter, The Washington Post reported that the new policy applies to political candidates and government officials who have more than 100,000 followers.
Before users can view tweets that the company has flagged as a violation of its policy, they will need to click on a screen that says, “The Twitter Rules about abusive behaviour apply to this Tweet. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest in the Tweet to remain available.”
The company said it would also de-prioritise the labelled tweets in the company’s algorithms and search bar so that they would circulate to fewer people. A special team has been appointed with the task of enforcing the new policy, in which notification labels will further appear only on rare occasions, it added.
The new decision comes at a moment when technology companies are under immense pressure to better monitor and polices their platforms for extremism, hate speech, violence and abuse.
In response, some social media companies are embracing ideas they have long resisted. Reddit, for example, opted on Wednesday to “quarantine” the biggest forum for supporters of President Trump after years of complaints that it had become a hub for conspiracy theories and violent threats.
Meanwhile, company officials at Facebook on Thursday revealed more details about its nascent plan to create an oversight board of outside experts to help make decisions about how the company polices content.
Before this week, Twitter had maintained that even vitriolic tweets from eminent leaders, including US President Donald Trump should remain in full public view, arguing that it is in voters’ interest to see the president’s views unfettered.
Trump, this week, had once again accused Twitter of limiting the reach of his tweets and wrongly stifling his users, though he again did not present evidence for such claims.
The White House, however, is yet to comment on the issue.
The changes, which The Washington Post previously reported the company was considering, are the social media giant’s latest and boldest attempt to balance its desire to keep up material that is newsworthy against long-standing complaints that powerful people can get away with saying things that would get everyday users punished.
“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,” Twitter said in a blog post.