On Friday, Twitter finally responded to calls to ban President Donald Trump from Twitter for violating its own rules. TL;DR: They won’t do it.
In a blog post, the company explained that blocking a world leader or removing their controversial tweets from Twitter would “hide information people should be able to see and debate.” They also add that such an action “would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.”
The blog post also responds to a common criticism of the platform: that Twitter profits off of Trump’s bombastic tweets: “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.”
But Jillian York, the co-founder of OnlineCensorship.com explained “Based on the rules alone, some of his tweets could constitute harassment. But I think based on the interpretation of those rules, not necessarily.”
She added that Twitter has generally been fairly strict with how they apply their rules: “Generally I think that Twitter errs on the side of only taking down violent incitement of hateful speech.”
Whether they removed him or they didn’t, Twitter has been in a no-win situation. As a private corporation, it can set up its own rules about free speech and is not bound by the First Amendment. Banning President Trump from the platform would amount to censorship which, while it is well within its rights to do, would set a dangerous precedent for banning other users, including activists and dissidents, across the globe.