A thread of tweets labelled as ‘xenophobic’ and ‘racist’ by the public, politicians and even fellow Republican Will Hurd, posted on July 14 by the US president will not be banned, according to Twitter, despite the fiery backlash.
On Sunday morning, Donald Trump took to Twitter to target four congresswomen of colour, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib
telling them to “go back where they came from”. Ironically, three of the four women were born in the US, and all of them are US citizens.
Following the live streaming of the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand earlier in the year, social media platforms have amped up their policies to be less tolerant of hate speech and white nationalism. But the outcry from the president seems to be exempt from these guidelines.
Twitter announced that these Trump tweets do not violate its community standards, which include ‘not promot[ing] violence against, threaten[ing], or harass[ing] other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease’, regardless of the hashtag #RacistPresident trending at the time. Take a look at Twitter’s ‘hateful conduct’ policy here.
Twitter defends its decision by maintaining that leaving the tweets on Trump’s profile is in the public interest.
The justification still has people outraged, with Malika Cyril, founder of the Center for Media Justice, telling The Mercury News “public interest also includes holding officials accountable. There’s nothing holding the president accountable”.
This comes a month after Twitter announced its new flagging system, with the aim of hiding tweets by public figures that violate Twitter’s community guidelines. The Verge announced this roll out last month by using the US president as an example: “Now, if a figure like President Donald Trump were to tweet something that broke Twitter’s rules, the platform could notify users of the violation and lessen the reach of the tweet”.
Donald Trump does not appear to regret the Twitter thread, claiming in a video that if “you’re not happy here, you can leave”.
Related article: Hate speech on Twitter predicts actual hate crimes, study finds.