Twitter is standing by its earlier decision to keep up a series of graphic anti-Muslim videos retweeted by President Trump earlier this week — though it’s attempting to reframe its reason for doing so.
CEO Jack Dorsey took to the site to retract an earlier statement that Twitter support had left the videos live due to their being “newsworthy for public interest,” a guideline it’s invoked numerous times when criticized about its decision to leave up presidential tweets. The site now says that, while it wasn’t wrong to keep the content up, its original justification for doing so was wrong.
“We mistakenly pointed to the wrong reason we didn’t take action on the videos from earlier this week,” the executive explained, echoing Twitter’s official statement that, “these videos are permitted on Twitter based on our current media policy.”
We mistakenly pointed to the wrong reason we didn’t take action on the videos from earlier this week. We’re still looking critically at all of our current policies, and appreciate all the feedback. See our safety calendar for our plans and ship dates. https://t.co/yGytH3eskM
— jack (@jack) December 1, 2017
Dorsey added, however that the site is, “still looking critically at all of our current policies, and appreciate all the feedback.” He pointed to recently announced plans to update site guidelines, as Twitter has come under increasing scrutiny over what it does and doesn’t pull from the site. Early last month, it posted a new version of its rules, highlighting thing like abusive behavior, adult content and graphic violence — all said, however, it’s tough to see how the Trump RTed videos aren’t covered by that last point.
To clarify: these videos are not being kept up because they are newsworthy or for public interest. Rather, these videos are permitted on Twitter based on our current media policy. https://t.co/RqEQy3skgc
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) December 1, 2017
On Wednesday, the President retweeted a trio of videos by far-right British politician Jayda Fraser that purported to show Muslims performing violent acts. Conservative British Prime Minister Theresa May took Trump to task, calling him “wrong” for promoting “hateful narratives.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders stood by the President once again, even as the veracity of the videos were called into question by many mainstream press outlets. “Whether it is a real video,” she told the press, “the threat is real.”
Among other things, Twitter’s new stance on the subject appears to be a response to reports proving at least one of the videos was not what it claimed to be. The company’s original explanation was met with a fair amount of pushback on social media, and this time out, things don’t appear to be going much better for the site.
It’s yet another in a long list of missteps that have made 2017 an on-going PR disaster for Twitter. Just this week, the site apologized for accidentally pulling a New York Times account over a tweet promoting a story about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that it accidentally flagged as offensive.
Recent months have also found the service in hot water for temporarily blocking actress Rose McGowan over a tweet about Harvey Weinstein and verifying white nationalist Jason Kessler.
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