Twitter didn’t name any names with today’s new feature news, but one extremely online user loomed large over the announcement. The company took to its Safety blog to announce the addition of a new “abusive behavior” label that users will have to click through to access content.
This isn’t just any content warning, though. It applies to a pretty exclusive club of users whose writing breaks the company’s anti-abuse rules, but whose comments are still deemed part of “the public conversation.” In order to apply, they must,
Be or represent a government official, be running for public office, or be considered for a government position (i.e., next in line, awaiting confirmation, named successor to an appointed position)
Have more than 100,000 followers
Granted, the state of public discourse in 2019 and in the lead up to next year’s election will almost certainly ensure that a number of people fall squarely in the center of that Venn diagram, but Twitter probably could have saved a few paragraphs by just calling this one “Trump’s Law.” Jack Dorsey and other execs have clearly been extremely uncomfortable with the position the President has placed them in by regularly saber rattling and name calling on the site.
The new feature will look like other sensitive material notices on the platform, with the option to click through to read the content. It will show up in safe search, Top Tweets, push notifications and a few other places. Tweets sent before today will not be subject to the new feature.
The move is sure to stir up feelings amongst politicians already crying foul against perceived social media bias, and Twitter says it will “continue to evaluate how our rules and enforcement actions can be clearer and keep working to make our decision-making easier to understand.” Republican politicians have regularly called out Twitter, Facebook and other sites for “shadow banning” and other instances and what they believe to be a liberal Silicon Valley bias.
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