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Twitter details its rules for world leaders

World leaders are not entirely exempt from Twitter policies, the social media company stressed, but "foreign policy saber-rattling on economic or military issues are generally not in violation of the Twitter Rules."
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Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer on

Twitter on Tuesday published a blog post explaining how it approaches tweets from world leaders, stressing that world leaders are not entirely exempt from its moderation policies. There are a few specific scenarios in which world leaders would face enforcement action from Twitter, according to the social media company. 

That said, Twitter added, "In other cases involving a world leader, we will err on the side of leaving the content up if there is a clear public interest in doing so."

And while tweets from President Donald Trump and other world leaders may generate controversy, Twitter stated, "Presently, 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 of the Twitter Rules." 

The specific kinds of behavior that could get world leaders in trouble with Twitter include: the promotion of terrorism; clear and direct threats of violence against an individual (with further consideration for context); posting private information; sharing intimate photos or videos of someone that were produced or distributed without their consent; engaging in behaviors relating to child sexual exploitation; and encouraging or promoting self-harm.

The clarification comes nearly two years after Twitter declared it would not block world leaders or remove their controversial tweets. That post was published days after President Trump seemingly used Twitter to threaten nuclear war against North Korea. 

Then in June of this year, Twitter explained how it would respond to tweets from world leaders that violate Twitter Rules but could still hold public interest value. The social media company said it would place such tweets behind a notice about the violation, allowing users to click through to see the tweet. 

"There continues to be meaningful public conversation about how we think about Tweets from world leaders on our service," Twitter said in its post Tuesday. "We welcome the conversation and want to share more context on our principles and process for reviewing Tweets from these accounts."

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