In a policy change, Twitter is now promising to hide tweets from public figures that violate its community guidelines.
In the past, Twitter let certain tweets that violated its general rules remain on its platform, arguing that doing so was in the public’s interest. But the practice has drawn widespread criticism.
Now, Twitter plans to place a “notice” -- a screen that users will have to click or tap through before they can view the tweet -- to provide additional context and clarity.
“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 stated.
Twitter said that it will only consider applying the notice on tweets from verified accounts of government officials or their representatives and individuals running for public office who have more than 100,000 followers. (That, of course, means that President Donald Trump's tweets, if in violation of the rules, could be labeled and hidden.)
In addition, Twitter said that some tweets -- such as those containing direct threats of violence or calls to commit violence against individuals – are still likely to be deemed "not in the public interest" and blocked.
The new notices will be immediately visible in users’ home timelines and across other areas, like search.
To vet offending tweets, Twitter is relying on an assortment of teams from its safety, legal and public policy units, along with regional teams.
The vetting process will include determining the immediacy and severity of potential harm from rule violations, with an emphasis on ensuring physical safety.
The teams with also consider whether preserving a tweet will allow others to hold the government official, candidate for public office, or appointee accountable for their statements.Additionally, the teams will consider whether there are other sources of information about statements available for the public to stay informed, and if a tweet’s removal would inadvertently hide context or prevent people from understanding an issue of public concern.