Twitter: Accounts of world leaders ‘not entirely’ above the rules

Support us and go ad-free

Twitter has said that accounts belonging to world leaders are not entirely above its rules, warning that it will do more to limit their reach.

While everyday users face restrictions and bans for breaking the social network’s policies, tweets from accounts of those in power may stay on the service if Twitter believes it is in the public interest.

In June the company announced that in some rare cases it may leave up a tweet from an elected or government official that would otherwise be taken down, instead hiding it behind a notice that people have to click through to see fully.

Twitter said tweets it issues a notice on would not be able to receive likes, replies or retweets, although other users could retweet them with a comment to express their own opinion.

The social network said enforcement action would apply to any account committing serious breaches, such as promoting terrorism or engaging in behaviours relating to child sexual exploitation.

“We want to make it clear today that the accounts of world leaders are not above our policies entirely,” Twitter said.

“With critical elections and shifting political dynamics around the world, we recognise that we’re operating in an increasingly complex and polarised political culture.

“These are constantly evolving challenges and we’ll keep our policies and approach under advisement, particularly as we learn more about the relationship between tweets from world leaders and the potential for offline harm.”

Twitter has yet to use the notices on any account.

The move is the latest balancing act from a social network, after Facebook’s communications head Nick Clegg said politicians could break its usual rules because they are newsworthy.

Last month, the former deputy prime minister made clear that “it is not our role to intervene when politicians speak”, with the exception of paid advertising.

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us