Twitter Rep Avoids Question About Potentially ‘Deleted’ Trump Tweets

April 30th, 2020 4:42 PM

Twitter does not seem to have a direct answer as to whether or not it has reduced visibility for President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.

Twitter’s U.K. Head of Government, Public Policy and Philanthropy, Katy Minshall, was asked by MP Clive Efford if the company “often take[s] action against tweets from the president of the United States?” She seemed unable to answer the question in an April 30 virtual hearing.

The parliamentary hearing on “Online Harms and Disinformation” was held by the “Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Sub-committee on Online Harms and Disinformation,” in the United Kingdom. It featured social media representatives who were called upon to testify and answer questions.

“We have taken action on tweets that break our rules that absolutely include world leaders, and if any tweet breaks the rules we will take an appropriate action,” said Minshall. But that did not appear to be the answer that MP Julian Knight was looking for.

“You’ve never deleted, have you ever reduced Donald Trump’s tweets at all, reduced the profile of them?” asked Knight. “Have you taken any action toward the president of the United States, or in fact, any of the world leaders apart from the president of Brazil?”

Minshall’s response was to detail the new labeling policy that has yet to be launched. “[W]e do have a policy where there may come a time where it’s in the public interest to be aware that a world leader has shared a tweet,” she said. “[B]ut if it does break our rules, we will hide it with an interstitial that notes that it’s harmful and does break the rules.”

She also noted that Twitter had “taken action from other world leaders around, around the globe, particularly in the past few weeks when it comes to COVID-19 misinformation.” Twitter had previously deleted two tweets from Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro’s account, according to BuzzFeed. “Brazil cannot stop or we’ll turn into Venezuela,” he said in one of the deleted videos.

But no direct answer was given as to whether or not visibility of Trump’s tweets had been reduced at any time. Even the London, CNN tech reporter Hadas Gold tweeted, “Twitter dodges Q on whether they’ve ever taken action on a Trump tweet.”

The policy that Minshall referred to is a potential label that would be put on a tweet from Trump or any other world leader. “[W]e’re introducing a new notice that will provide additional clarity in these situations, and sharing more on when and why we’ll use it,” wrote Twitter in 2019.