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SLATE MAG: Would Facebook or Twitter Ever Ban President Trump?
One says it wouldn’t, and one says it would.
Could the president of the United States ever get suspended or banned from a major social network? The answer: It depends on the network.
It’s a hypothetical question, of course—but not merely an academic one, given the president-elect’s track record of using social media to sow conspiracy theories, attack reporters, threaten political rivals, and call for religious discrimination. Facebook and Twitter in particular have already struggled to reconcile their policies on harassment and hate speech with some of the activities of Donald Trump and his political allies. And the two social networks have offered starkly different answers to the question.
Facebook has indicated that it will not apply its normal community standards to posts from President-elect Trump, given their newsworthiness and the widespread popular support for his views. But Twitter told Slate that no one is exempt from its rules—not even the president.
Twitter recently suspended the accounts of several leading pundits and activists from the “alt-right,” a pro-Trump movement that is linked with notions of white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-Semitism. Asked whether Twitter would ever consider banning key government officials or even the president himself, a company spokesperson responded via email: “The Twitter Rules prohibit violent threats, harassment, hateful conduct, and multiple account abuse, and we will take action on accounts violating those policies.” Pressed on whether that meant that, hypothetically, Trump himself could be suspended were he to violate those policies, a spokesperson confirmed: “The Twitter Rules apply to all accounts, including verified accounts.”
Twitter Threatens To Kill Trump’s Account
A Twitter spokesperson told Slate this week that it would consider banning government officials, including president elect Trump, if its rules against “hateful conduct” were violated.
“Twitter Rules prohibit violent threats, harassment, hateful conduct, and multiple account abuse, and we will take action on accounts violating those policies,” a spokesperson recently told media outlet Quartz. “The Twitter Rules apply to all accounts.”
Give Twitter’s clear bias and selective enforcement of the rules, such a ban would not be unlikely.