The social media platform claims any “wish or hope for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against *anyone*” violates a recently-instated rule against abusive behavior.
Though it’s failed/refused to prohibit hate speech from the president or his legion of trolls, Twitter appears to be drawing a line for those openly welcoming a worst-case scenario in Trump’s recent COVID-19 diagnosis.
According to Motherboard, the social media giant is threatening to suspend users who publicly wish Trump dies from the novel coronavirus, citing a new rule against abusive behavior instated back in April. “Content that wishes, hopes or expresses a desire for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against an individual is against our rules,” a rep from the company tells Motherboard in a statement. The @TwitterComms handle clarifies their stance, noting a violation of the rule won’t necessarily result in an automatic suspension, but tweets may need to be removed. The Twitter policy on abusive behavior differs only slightly from that of Facebook’s, where you can essentially say whatever you want about anybody, so long as they’re not tagged in the statement.
The threat of suspension has already come under fire by users, who point to the company allowing Trump’s administration to spread baseless information regarding COVID-19, which has effectively lead to the death of more than 200,000 Americans since March (the U.S. currently has the highest number of COVID-related deaths in the world.) Critics have also taken issue with Twitter’s mostly hands-off approach to the administration’s targeting of public and private individuals who’ve stood against policies and statements made by Trump throughout his tenure as president (and even well before it.)
On Friday night, Trump’s bout with COVID-19 landed him in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he’s being treated for mild-to-moderate symptoms from the potentially lethal virus. Members of his administration have also tested positive for COVID, though they appear to be in better condition at the moment. A month out from the presidential election, it’s unclear how his campaign will move forward.