Our highest priority is to protect the health of the public conversation on Twitter, and an important part of that is ensuring our rules and how we enforce them are easy to understand. 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. To fix that, we’re introducing a new notice that will provide additional clarity in these situations, and sharing more on when and why we’ll use it.
Serving the public conversation includes providing the ability for anyone to talk about what matters to them; this can be especially important when engaging with government officials and political figures. By nature of their positions these leaders have outsized influence and sometimes say things that could be considered controversial or invite debate and discussion. A critical function of our service is providing a place where people can openly and publicly respond to their leaders and hold them accountable.
With this in mind, there are certain cases where it may be in the public’s interest to have access to certain Tweets, even if they would otherwise be in violation of our rules. On the rare occasions when this happens, we'll place a notice – a screen you have to click or tap through before you see the Tweet – to provide additional context and clarity. We’ll also take steps to make sure the Tweet is not algorithmically elevated on our service, to strike the right balance between enabling free expression, fostering accountability, and reducing the potential harm caused by these Tweets.
Who does this apply to?
We will only consider applying this notice on Tweets from accounts that meet the following criteria. The account must:
That said, there are cases, such as direct threats of violence or calls to commit violence against an individual, that are unlikely to be considered in the public interest.
What will the notice look like?
The notice will be immediately visible in your home timeline and across other areas like search.
How will we decide when to use this notice?
A cross-functional team including Trust and Safety, Legal, Public Policy and regional teams will determine if the Tweets are a matter of public interest based on the criteria listed above and the following considerations:
You can learn more about our decision making principles here
In instances where a Tweet violates our rules and our review doesn’t find that it would be in the public interest to leave it up, we will require the account owner to remove the Tweet. Either way, this notice will make our decision-making clearer.
What happens to the Tweet that gets this notice placed on it?
When a Tweet has this notice placed on it, it will feature less prominently on Twitter, and not appear in:
This notice won’t be applied to any Tweets sent before today and, given the conditions outlined above, it’s unlikely you'll encounter it often. We cannot predict the first time it will be used, but we wanted to give you more information about this new notice before you come across it on Twitter.
Over time, public interest and how it’s defined on Twitter may change as we observe different types of behavior. 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.
*Updated on October 15, 2019: This post was updated to include additional product updates.
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