Twitter's head of legal, policy, and trust and safety, said if public figures, including politicians, issue offensive tweets, Twitter may annotate them and add a message about why they have not been deleted.
Asked whether President Trump could say anything he wanted to on Twitter, Gadde responded, "One of the things we’re working really closely on with our product and engineering folks is, ‘How can we label that?’ 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? … When we leave that content on the platform there’s no context around that and it just lives on Twitter and people can see it and they just assume that is the type of content or behavior that’s allowed by our rules.”
Twitter acknowledges that it prevents certain content from trending, writing: “We want trends to promote healthy discussions on Twitter. This means that at times, we may prevent certain content from trending. These include trends that: Contain profanity or adult/graphic references. Incite hate on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. Violate the Twitter Rules.” Twitter adds, “In some cases, we may also consider the newsworthiness of the content, or if it is in the public interest when evaluating potential violations. In these cases, the content might continue to trend on our platform.”
Gadde spoke of the “newsworthiness” clause, asserting that it does not guarantee Twitter will give free rein to a public figure. He said, "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. But there are other types of content that we believe are newsworthy or in the public interest that people may want to have a conversation around.”
Twitter has been heavily criticized for its choices when it comes to punishing Twitter users for flouting its rules, as many tweets regarded as incendiary or threatening have emerged unscathed after they have been issued.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted last September that conservative employees at his company feel intimidated and keep silent because of their views. He admitted:
“We have a lot of conservative-leaning folks in the company as well, and to be honest, they don’t feel safe to express their opinions at the company. They do feel silenced by just the general swirl of what they perceive to be the broader percentage of leanings within the company, and I don’t think that’s fair or right.” He added, “I think it’s more and more important to at least clarify what our own bias leans towards, and just express it. I’d rather know what someone biases to rather than try to interpret through their actions.”