Twitter adds warning labels for offensive political tweets

01 July 2019 - 06:00 By Unathi Nkanjeni
The new measure only applies to verified political leaders and candidates who have more than 100,000 followers.
The new measure only applies to verified political leaders and candidates who have more than 100,000 followers.
Image: AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL

The new measure only applies to verified political leaders and candidates who have more than 100,000 followers.

Twitter will no longer delete the offensive, bullying or hateful tweets of politicians - instead, it will begin "marking them up".

The popular app has announced that it is creating a warning label to flag and suppress political tweets that breach the platform's rules on acceptable speech.

"In the past, we’ve allowed certain tweets that violated our rules to remain on Twitter because they were in the public’s interest, but it wasn’t clear when and how we made those determinations," the app stated.

Many have seen this as a positive step for the company, as it comes under renewed criticism for its handling of tweets by major political figures such as US president Donald Trump and former DA leader Helen Zille.

According to Twitter, when a politician's tweet breaks the rules, it will get hidden under a warning label that says:

"The Twitter rules about abusive behaviour apply to this tweet. However, Twitter has determined it may be in the public's interest for the tweet to remain available."

The new measure only applies to verified political leaders and candidates who have more than 100,000 followers. The abusive tweets will be ranked down by algorithms as well, thereby getting fewer views.

The introduction of the new notice is unpredictable, but Twitter said it wanted to let users know beforehand about it before they come across it on the app.

"Over time, public interest and how it’s defined on Twitter may change as we observe different types of behaviour. We’ll continue to evaluate how our rules and enforcement actions can be clearer and keep working to make our decision-making easier to understand," said Twitter.


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