Twitter says that while it’s committed to keeping “elected world leaders” like President Donald Trump on the service, there’s at least one thing that could cross the line: tweets that reveal a private address or phone number. Bruce Daisley, Twitter’s VP of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, laid out the details in an interview with the BBC. “If someone tweets private information — if someone tweets someone’s private address, phone number — then there are no-go areas where we don’t permit that,” he said. “Were he to do that, just picking a hypothetical example, then those would be areas” that were grounds for discipline.
But Daisley didn’t say this would lead to a ban or suspension. “We would caution him to remove that tweet for sure,” he said, when host Emma Barnett asked if that would get Trump suspended. This is consistent with Twitter’s posted rules, although they also state that someone may be temporarily locked out of their account. Multiple violations can result in a full ban.
People have been calling for Twitter to ban Trump for a while, but the protests took on new urgency after Trump threatened nuclear war with North Korea in a tweet. He’s threatened the country in previous tweets as well, and Daisley acknowledged Trump’s “bellicosity” on the site, but downplayed its importance. “He’s sort of saber-rattling. I think world leaders have used whatever media possible to do those things, and to caution other countries about what’s happening,” he said.
Twitter released a full explanation of its decision last week, but Daisley admitted that it could have handled the situation better: “I think sometimes because we don’t necessarily step forward and explain what we’re doing, in the absence of that people feel frustrated.” He also made a more pragmatic statement, repeatedly saying that Twitter doesn’t want to “become the news” by controlling what world leaders say. Despite this, “it’s not carte blanche” for world leaders who tweet — even if the consequences are light.