Twitter to label officials' tweets that violate their rules — and that could affect Trump

By Kathryn Watson

/ CBS News

Social media comapnies accused of bias

Twitter will start labeling tweets from public officials that violate the company's rules — and that's likely to affect the president of the United States, the company announced Thursday.

The notice, which isn't retroactive, will become "immediately visible in your home timeline and across other areas like search," the company said. Such tweets will also be de-prioritized in Twitter's algorithm, meaning fewer people will see them. The labeling will only apply to the accounts of public officials or people running for office who are verified on Twitter and have at least 100,000 followers. The labeling is Twitter's alternative to taking down tweets that violate its rules but are still in the public interest.

"We'll now clearly label any tweets which violate our terms of service but decide to keep up due to public interest," CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted Thursday.

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The company said that in cases of direct threats of violence or calls to commit violence against someone, Twitter will likely consider that content against the public interest and require the owner to take down the tweet — rather than Twitter taking down the tweet.

"This notice won't be applied to any Tweets sent before today and, given the conditions outlined above, it's unlikely you'll encounter it often," the company said. "We cannot predict the first time it will be used, but we wanted to give you more information about this new notice before you come across it on Twitter."

Twitter's rules prohibit threatening violence against an individual or group of people, promoting terrorism and violent extremism, the sexual exploitation of children, abuse, harassment and hateful conduct. But critics of the the social media platform said Twitter doesn't enforce those rules as vigorously as it should.

First published on June 27, 2019 / 3:08 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Kathryn Watson

Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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