Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) explained why it won’t block the accounts of important world leaders. Apparently, that included U.S. President Donald Trump, along with a very large number of other people.
Twitter’s statement said:
There’s been a lot of discussion about political figures and world leaders on Twitter, and we want to share our stance.
Twitter is here to serve and help advance the global, public conversation. Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation because of their outsized impact on our society.
Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate. It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.
While this presumably includes leaders like Vladimir Putin, it may not include Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has completely disrupted his country via arrest of important businessmen and other members of the Saudi royal family. It also may not include China President Xi Jinping, who is elected by the National People’s Congress, which is very different from the general population. The word “elected” is not defined.
Twitter’s message about bans goes on to say:
We review Tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly. No one person’s account drives Twitter’s growth, or influences these decisions. We work hard to remain unbiased with the public interest in mind.
We are working to make Twitter the best place to see and freely discuss everything that matters. We believe that’s the best way to help our society make progress.
So, who can really be banned and who can’t, and what are the real rules to decide it?