Taking direct aim at President Donald Trump. social media giant Twitter announced it will put warning labels on tweets that violate its rules, but are posted by users it finds difficult to ban.
Tweets with "controversial content or behavior which may otherwise violate our rules" but would be troublesome to ban because they are in the "legitimate public interest" would be covered up by a warning label, which users would have to click through in order to read.
"The label will only be used for verified accounts belonging to government officials, or those running for office, with more than 100,000 followers," Bloomberg reports.
"By nature of their positions these leaders have outsized influence and sometimes say things that could be considered controversial or invite debate and discussion," Twitter explains, insisting they're not referring to Trump. "A critical function of our service is providing a place where people can openly and publicly respond to their leaders and hold them accountable."
The announcement is aimed squarely at President Donald Trump, after a campaign by leftists to ban him entirely from Twitter. That campaign is complicated by the fact Trump has never clearly violated any of Twitter's Terms of Service.
"Twitter's rules prohibit threatening violence against a person or group, engaging in "targeted harassment of someone," or inciting others to do so, such as wishing a person is harmed. It prohibits hate speech against a group based on race, ethnicity, gender or other categories, and disallows the promoting of terrorism," the Associated Press reports.
None of Trump's tweets have clearly and explicitly done that. Twitter did not provide any examples of Trump tweets what would trigger the warning label.
While activists have been successful in banning accounts from conservative journalists and activists, banning a federal candidate, especially Trump, could draw a legal challenge arguing the move is intended to benefit an opposing candidate, and is therefore an illegal corporate contribution.
Twitter instead chose to slap a "scarlet letter" on tweets, which censors Trump without banning him entirely.
The move mirrors one by Facebook, which automatically adds warnings to posts labeled "not true" or "offensive" by often left-leaning censors.