As soon as President-elect Joe Biden takes office on inauguration day, Twitter may revoke President Trump’s privileged global leadership privileges and treat his account as normal.
Twitter has confirmed reports that changing the status of the account could lead to stricter enforcement measures – although the spokesman said the policy was not new.
The platform enjoys a public interest exemption from the accounts of world leaders whose words are generally newsworthy and important to citizens, even if they break the rules.
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But the exemption does not apply to former world leaders, a spokesman said.
Trump’s personal Twitter account has more than 88 million followers, and his last five tweets received more than 50,000 likes early Friday night – the highest being nearly 140,000.
But his tweets about unfounded allegations of voter fraud have garnered warning labels from Twitter that wrote, “This allegation of election fraud is being disputed.”
Even these posts get tens of thousands of likes and retweets. Twitter also spoke out against some of the president’s tweets before the election, but stopped punishing his account.
Warning labels can be replaced with stricter censorship on the platform. Twitter’s policy prohibits accounts that promote violent extremism, share the personal information of others in order to harass them (also known as doxing), or operate abusive behavior or fake accounts in addition to other violations.
A possible Trump attack would not be the first for Twitter. The company blocked the New York Post in October after refusing to take down a tweet referring to a story about controversial emails allegedly found on Hunter Biden’s laptop. The Post’s ban was later lifted.
The employee who left in 2017 also briefly deactivated Trump’s personal account on his last business day. It was restored 11 minutes later.
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That same year, the company temporarily suspended the account of actress Rose McGowan. He spoke out against Harvey Weinstein’s shameful film mogul and convict. He attached a picture to the chat that showed a private phone number.
However, the president’s personal account is separate from the @POTUS manager, which will be passed on to Biden once he takes office.
Before Trump, former President Obama used it. After Trump’s inauguration, Obama’s presidential tweets were archived and moved to a new handle, “@POTUS44”.
Twitter spokesman Nick Pacilio says the official management of the Trump administration goes through a similar archiving process before being handed over to the incoming administration.