If not for anything, Donald J. Trump is known for his tweets, and not for anything else, but controversies. He tweets whatever comes to his mind, many of which are capable of starting wars between countries.
In the past week, it’s been tougher and more sensitive, especially with the United States experiencing protests following the homicide (as confirmed by recent reports) of George Floyd. In this period, 2 of Trump’s tweets have been flagged with a “Fact-checking” tag by Twitter.
Now, based on a lay-man understanding of the Twitter Terms of Service, some tweets can be flagged as “glorifying violence.” Several persons have reacted to Trump’s tweets in response to the “Black Lives Matter” protests, where he claimed that “…when the looting starts, the shooting starts…”
….These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2020
The tweet is flagged by Twitter, as glorifying violence – which it actually is. But, that Tweet remains till date, as against the Twitter TOS. Why is this?
Well, an anonymous user of Twitter (Not the Anonymous organisation that reveals a secret on Twitter) decided to take the matter into his hands to find out if Trump’s account should have been banned. In view of this, he created an account with the name, “Will they Suspend me?”
It took roughly 68 hours for the account to be suspended, as he was copying and tweeting every tweet of Trump since the 29th of May. He kept posting the exam same tweets, and in no time, he (or she) couldn’t RT, like, follow nor do anything else on Twitter.
After the suspension, it was discovered that the account was run by a Twitter user named BizzareLazar (though his real name remains undisclosed).
Experiment Update – Account just now coming off a 12 hour suspension. Took roughly 68 hours for Twitter to suspend me. The violating tweet has been deleted. Twitters reasoning for the violation? Glorifying violence. Experiment will continue. DMs will remain open. Thank you. https://t.co/fuxJFMERgP
— Will they suspend me? (@SuspendThePres) June 2, 2020
“I wanted to see for myself if he was indeed violating [Twitter’s terms of service]. Figured what better way to test out the hypothesis than to see if they suspended me for the exact same language.”
The suspension on the account was based on the fact that it glorified violence, which was the exact same words as that of Trump. “Apparently Twitter does, in fact, believe the tweet in question ‘glorifies violence,'” said SuspendThePres. “Their words not mine.”
The account was only released from suspension after 12hours of removing the tweet, and back to full functionality. Anyways, the account is not looking to give up. It’d keep reposting Trump’s tweets, and any other leader they deem necessary to check.
On Twitter’s part, it took the stance that it’s only best if Trump’s tweets remain up, as the content needs to be there for further national interest in the conversation it must have generated.
It’s dicey when it comes to Trump. He is the US President and of recent just tried to unleash his power on social media when Twitter tag his tweet for “Fact-checking”. Anyways, Jack Dorsey (Twitter CEO) doesn’t seem to be fazed by him, but it’s still a tricky situation.
Twitter has to monitor billions of Tweets and people, so it’s increasingly difficult to control an audience that spans people of different social class and political status, via a rigid regulation.