Who is the nation’s No. 1 purveyor of hate, threats, abuse and harassment? It is President Donald Trump, and the twitterverse is rife with examples of how he has used and abused his Twitter account to spread lies and threaten his enemies. Yet Twitter continues to make excuses for failing to enforce its own rules despite the president’s refusal to restrain his abuses. It’s time for Twitter to draw the line.
Even Attorney General William Barr has joined the chorus of Twitter critics. In an ABC News interview on Feb. 13, Barr suggested he was being “bullied” on Twitter by Trump and said the president’s tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job.” Twitter’s rules explicitly state: “You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so.”
Trump has abused his account by tweeting in support of hate groups. He has spread lies and retweeted material clearly designed to distort the truth. Twitter has been aware for years that Trump was in blatant violation of company policies.
While the company bans others, Trump gets a special exception simply because he’s the president. Yet his account is not the official White House account and is, instead, one he established in 2009. The White House Twitter account contains loads of political entries but is largely empty of the threatening, bullying, abusive language that peppers Trump’s personal account.
Trump uses his Twitter account for political campaign promotion — something an official government account cannot legally do. Which is why Twitter needs to rethink its rationale for giving Trump a pass on breaking the rules.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH