ChrisWeigant.com

Why Is Trump Still Allowed On Twitter?

[ Posted Tuesday, January 15th, 2019 – 18:01 UTC ]

Today, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning racism and white supremacy. They felt the need to do so because one of its members was recently quoted by a journalist pondering how "white supremacy" had become such a negative term. Tomorrow, the House may vote on censuring Representative Steve King directly. His own Republican caucus has stripped him of all his committee assignments as well.

This is all to the good, of course. Even hinting at supporting white supremacy should be absolutely disqualifying for any American politician, in this day and age. But many are left wondering why King was able to get away with his vitriol for so long. He's got a long history of making what can only be called racist statements, after all. In all this time, Republicans never stripped him of his committee assignments or, for that matter, even acknowledged the racism in their own ranks. The current feigned GOP outrage smacks of too little, too late.

Which brings me to a related subject. Because while King's remarks were pretty blatantly racist, he certainly isn't alone in denigrating people who don't happen to look like him. In fact, the leader of his party does so all the time, and President Donald Trump rarely gets any kind of pushback from those in his party for doing so. So why the double standard?

Of course, the answer to that question is "politics." Most Republicans see little political benefit in condemning Trump's equally blatant racism, although at times Trump goes so far that they do feel the need to weakly suggest that he maybe not say such things out loud. But that's about as far as it goes.

Asking politicians to condemn one of their own is one thing. But what about Trump's habit of making racist and offensive statements on Twitter? Why, in other words, is Trump still allowed on Twitter when he regularly and egregiously breaks their code of conduct?

Twitter is not the government. It is a corporation. A private entity. The government is prohibited from censorship. Corporations, however, can censor anything they don't approve of. Which they regularly do, in fact. Twitter bans people all the time. So why does Trump get a gigantic free pass from them?

Here are a few excerpts from Twitter's code of conduct that show how Trump breaks their rules, sometimes on a daily (or even hourly) basis:

Hateful conduct:

You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.

While that last sentence is debatable (Trump does do other things on Twitter, after all), his violation of the first sentence is pretty plain to see. In fact, he's violated pretty much every single one of those categories since he entered politics. And Twitter promises that such behavior will not be tolerated:

We are committed to combating abuse motivated by hatred, prejudice or intolerance, particularly abuse that seeks to silence the voices of those who have been historically marginalized. For this reason, we prohibit behavior that targets individuals with abuse based on protected category.

Except when Trump does it, it seems. This isn't the only rule Trump regularly ignores, either. Consider the following Twitter regulation, in relation to all of Trump's tweets about "the caravan" and "illegals" heading towards our southern border:

Inciting fear about a protected category

We prohibit targeting individuals with content intended to incite fear or spread fearful stereotypes about a protected category, including asserting that members of a protected category are more likely to take part in dangerous or illegal activities, e.g., "all [religious group] are terrorists".

Or such as: "the caravan is filled with dangerous criminals," perhaps? But this isn't even the rule that Trump violates the most. That would have to be:

Repeated and/or non-consensual slurs, epithets, racist and sexist tropes, or other content that degrades someone

We prohibit targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes, or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade, or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category. This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgendered individuals.

You wouldn't have to look too hard to find multiple examples of Trump falling afoul of this rule, because he does it so often. Pick any week since Trump has been in office, and the chances are you'd find more than one blatant example of Trump dehumanizing, degrading, or reinforcing negative and harmful stereotypes about one category or another. So why does Twitter allow him to get away with it without even a single warning? Any other citizen who tweeted exactly the same thing Trump does would have been banned a long time ago, in other words.

You don't even have to look far into the past to find such behavior. Here's another Twitter rule that Trump just violated in the past day:

References to mass murder, violent events, or specific means of violence where protected groups have been the primary targets or victims

We prohibit targeting individuals with content that references forms of violence or violent events where a protected category was the primary target or victims, where the intent is to harass. This includes, but is not limited to sending someone:

  • media that depicts victims of the Holocaust;
  • media that depicts lynchings

From an article in HuffPost today:

Trump made fun of an Instagram video post by [Senator Elizabeth] Warren, a 2020 presidential candidate, in her kitchen. "If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash," Trump mocked on Twitter.

This isn't the first time Trump has used the slur "Pocahontas" against Warren, of course. But it is the first time that he's mentioned Little Bighorn and Wounded Knee. The first was where a Native American group fought a battle against the U.S. Army and won (Custer's Last Stand). The second, however, was nothing short of a massacre, where American armed forces slaughtered hundreds of women and children in cold blood. It was, in short, a mass murder, as well as being "a violent event where a protected category were the primary victims." Trump's intent of this tweet was pretty plainly to harass Warren. In other words, a particularly blatant violation of Twitter's code of conduct.

Native Americans are outraged, as the HuffPost article fully documents. They have every right to be. But they should channel their outrage not only at Donald Trump, but also at Twitter itself. How can the company continue to allow the president to get away with such racism and hatred on a regular basis? These aren't borderline cases in any way -- Trump willfully and repeatedly violates numerous rules that all other Twitter users are supposed to abide by, with the threat of their account being deleted if they don't.

Perhaps it is time for the House to address this situation. Call the leaders of Twitter to a hearing, and spend the entire hearing just quoting Trump tweets to them. Ask, after every one is read: "Does this violate the Twitter code of conduct? Why or why not?" Then further press them on why Donald Trump is allowed to ignore the rules when everyone else is expected to follow them.

Twitter, like the GOP politicians who listened to Steve King's rantings for years without acting, knows that taking action against Trump would cause a political firestorm. If they held Trump to the standards that everyone else is supposed to follow, he'd have his account suspended a few times and then would be unceremoniously kicked off the platform forever. This would lead to howls of outrage from his fans and followers, of course, which is probably what Twitter is so scared of.

But that shouldn't stop them from doing the right thing. They've allowed a double standard for Trump long enough. Trump tramples all over their code of conduct on a regular and continuing basis. There is no excuse for why Twitter allows this situation to continue, just as there is no excuse for why Republicans stayed so silent for so long on Steve King's racism. Donald Trump should have to follow the same rules of civility that everyone else is expected to follow on Twitter. And if he can't do so, his account should be deleted. Period.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

19 Comments on “Why Is Trump Still Allowed On Twitter?”

  1. [1] 
    Paula wrote:

    Yep.

  2. [2] 
    neilm wrote:

    Yeah ... but ... Trump made Twitter. Frankly, I paid no attention to Twitter and had no interest in it, and still don't. I'd have probably forgotten it by now if Trump's Tweets hadn't been broadcast 24x7.

    He is their greatest marketing asset. They will have to be forced to throw him out.

  3. [3] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW-

    This column is one of the better, and among the longest, rhetorical questions I have ever read.

    If there is any redeeming feature to Twitter I have yet to find the it. An unholy notional marriage between a gossip fence and an engineered addictive drug.

  4. [4] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: Today, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning racism and white supremacy.

    The good news: Be it resolved that the House of Representatives has voted near unanimously to condemn the rhetoric that has been long espoused by the King.

    The bad news: It's the one from Iowa rather than the Mad King Comrade Benedict Donald Treasonous Trump residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    Oh... so that there "resolution" kind of rings a bit hollow then, doesn't it? :)

  5. [5] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Wow. Congress condemning racism and white supremacy.

    And maybe they WILL call Twitter in for a hearing on Trump's tweets.

    That must be the bold action that people are clamoring for.

    Perhaps it is time for the media to start asking the candidates from both CMPs why they keep taking the Big Money contributions.

    Of course this could lead to howls of rage from the CMPs supporters and followers.

    But this shouldn't stop the media from doing the right thing. They have allowed the CMPs to get away with the lies for way too long.

    The CMPs should at least meet the basic standard for representing ordinary citizens which is to stop taking the Big Money.

    And if they can't do it they should be deleted from our political process. Period.

  6. [6] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    I've been thinking this for quite a few years now.

    But I've given up. If I remember, Twitter put out a press release more or less when the president was elected, saying they were going to waive their standards for him because he was a public figure of great importance, or something.

    I don't know anyone who didn't read that as meaning, he is invaluable to our brand. When you think Trump, you think Twitter. And confess it, you think Trump all the time - thanks to Twitter.

    I'd love to see the Dems in the House haul up the execs, though, and ask them to justify the hypocrisy on camera, in person, under the lights.

  7. [7] 
    TheStig wrote:

    The correct response to the Twitter Execs is to dump your account - which I did about 2 weeks after I tried it. If you are curious about presidential tweets, Google and it will direct you to a searchable data base.....without giving the rat bastard ownership of Twitter anything useful.

    Easy as pie....unless you are addicted...

  8. [8] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Bit of s syntax problem in 7. Google "Trump tweet archive". Old school literal for code doesn't work ' round here....:-(

    and why would I expect it would?

  9. [9] 
    Paula wrote:

    Speaker Pelosi tells Blotus he can provide his SOTU address in writing or he'll have to reschedule until after the shutdown.

    My understanding is that the House of Reps invites the POTUS to do an annual SOTU - one of those customs/ceremonies we take for granted, but technically one she has control over. It is a brilliant move - denying Blotus the big ceremonial platform he loves and which he would use to spew a Steven Miller-written screed.

    LOVE IT!

  10. [10] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Paula [9]: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

  11. [11] 
    Paula wrote:

    [10] Balthasar: Yep!

  12. [12] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    in case there were ever any doubt, nancy plays hardball.

  13. [13] 
    Paula wrote:

    [12] Yep.

  14. [14] 
    Kick wrote:

    Paula
    9

    Speaker Pelosi tells Blotus he can provide his SOTU address in writing or he'll have to reschedule until after the shutdown.

    I know, right!?

    What better way to make her point than denying to PT that which he so desperately needs? Applause, attention, and accolades. Oh, yes... let the Orange Blowhole feel the effects of the Trump Shutdown by shutting him down. The state of our union is shut down, and so it goes!

    We will resume feeding His Neediness when he opens our government. Awesome. :)

  15. [15] 
    Kick wrote:

    JL
    12

    in case there were ever any doubt, nancy plays hardball.

    Nancy plays hardball! *laughs* This is one of those times that capitalization would have helped you there, mate. ;)

    Just one short week away from National Pie Day, and how will we be celebrating? Do tell. :)

  16. [16] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    umm... with pie?

  17. [17] 
    Kick wrote:

    JL
    16

    umm... with pie?

    *laughs* Well, of course "with pie," pfffttt… ;p

    Flavor?

  18. [18] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    TheStig [3] -

    This column is one of the better, and among the longest, rhetorical questions I have ever read.

    Heh. That got a chuckle out of me, I have to admit. And thanks for the kind words!

    John M from Ct. [6] -

    I'd love to see the Dems in the House haul up the execs, though, and ask them to justify the hypocrisy on camera, in person, under the lights.

    Yeah, me too.

    Kick [15] -

    I thought National Pi Day was 3/14?

    Heh.

    -CW

  19. [19] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @cw,

    a common error. pie day and pi day are two different days. get with the program man.

    https://www.thrillist.com/news/nation/national-pie-day-vs-national-pi-day

    @kick,

    i'm partial to pecan.

    JL

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