Twitter is considering labeling tweets that violate its rules but should remain on the platform because they’re in the public interest.
Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal, policy and trust made the announcement during an on-stage interview with the Washington Post on Wednesday.
The social media company is trying to find a way of maintaining its standards while adding context to tweets from politicians and other figures that may be offensive but are important for public debate.
Twitter has come under fire from some critics who say President Donald Trump’s tweets often violate its rules against bullying, dehumanization and threatening harm.
In response to a question about whether Twitter’s current approach means Trump gets total immunity for whatever he says, Gadde said the social media platform wants to find a way to keep tweets up for their newsworthiness, while also noting if a tweet violates their rules.
“One of the things we’re working really closely on with our product and engineering folks is, ‘How can we label that?'” she said, without naming the US president. “How can we put some context around it so people are aware that that content is actually a violation of our rules and it is serving a particular purpose in remaining on the platform.”
Trump regularly insults people on Twitter. He called a former staffer a “dog” and posted an altered video from a WWE wrestling match showing Trump beating up a man with a CNN logo superimposed on his head.
Though similar tweets by others might be removed for violating Twitter’s rules, the platform currently grants an exemption for world leaders and tweets it considers newsworthy.
Gadde said that doesn’t give leaders complete immunity, and it would draw the line on some content.
“An example would be a direct violent threat against an individual that we wouldn’t leave on the platform because of the danger it poses to that individual,” she said.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how it would go about labeling content or when the new system would be rolled out.
Social media companies have been struggling with how to police speech on their platforms for years, but the pressure has ratcheted up in recent months.
On Wednesday, Facebook announced it was banning all “praise, support and representation of white nationalism and separatism” on Faceboo and Instagram.
The move comes less than two weeks after the suspect in the terror attack at two New Zealand mosques streamed the massacre live on the platform. A manifesto allegedly written by the suspect revealed white nationalist views.
Gadde said Twitter is considering limiting the visibility of dehumanizing tweets. A user would have to click through in order to view the tweet.
This, she said, would “force people to acknowledge what this is and make the choice of whether to see it or not versus it just being on the platform with full visibility.”