Facebook and Twitter are scrambling to govern the toxic online debate over impeachment, Axios managing editor Scott Rosenberg writes from San Francisco.
- Why it matters: Social media platforms that set out to “bring the world closer together” and help people “share ideas and information” are now political battlegrounds.
Twitter’s rules bar targeted harassment and threats of violence against individuals or groups.
- Since the announcement of the impeachment inquiry, Trump’s tweets have grown even more combative, including his warning this weekend of a possible “Civil War” if he’s removed from office.
Critics are cranking up their longstanding call for Twitter to suspend his @realDonaldTrump account.
- But Twitter has long moved with extra caution when it comes to public figures.
For Twitter, Trump represents an “edge case” — the term engineers use for scenarios that expose the contradictions or weaknesses in their systems.
- His office makes him undeniably a “topic of legitimate public interest.” But his tweets keep moving further across Twitter’s red lines.
Facebook has a “newsworthiness” exemption for content that violates its rules.
- Nick Clegg, Facebook’s V.P. of global affairs, announced last week: “From now on we will treat speech from politicians as newsworthy content that should, as a general rule, be seen and heard.” Political ads will be more strictly vetted. (Source: Axios)