Twitter has announced that it will suspend accounts of users on the social media platform who tweet that they hope President Donald Trump dies from COVID-19.
Although this particular batch of ill will toward the president stems from his announcement last week that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for coronavirus, Twitter told Motherboard, the tech blog of leftist media outlet Vice, that the policy against “abusive behavior” has been in place since April.
Vice reports, all but blaming the president for the death toll of the virus in America and decrying his “often negligent and sometimes cruel policies”:
President Trump has coronavirus, a disease that has killed more than 205,000 people in the United States on his watch. He is widely reviled by roughly half the country on account of his often negligent and sometimes cruel policies on the pandemic, social justice, and immigration, among others. Some unknowable percentage of those people want him to die from the disease, and more than a handful of them have already explicitly said they hope the President dies from coronavirus on Twitter.
Twitter told Motherboard that users are not allowed to openly hope for Trump’s death on the platform and that tweets that do so “will have to be removed” and that they may have their accounts put into a “read only” mode. Twitter referred to an “abusive behavior” rule that’s been on the books since April.
Twitter’s policies clearly prohibit users engaging in abusive behavior, including posting “content that wishes, hopes or expresses a desire for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against an individual.”
Following the president’s announcement that he would be quarantining and seeking treatment after testing positive for the coronavirus, Twitter was awash with hashtags such as #TrumpHasCovid and #CovidCaughtTrump. Others sarcastically tweeted “thoughts and prayers” or celebrated “karma.”
Amid the deluge of content hoping the president dies from the virus, Twitter says it cannot suspend every single violator of the policy. “We’re prioritizing the removal of content when it has a clear call to action that could potentially cause real-world harm,” a Twitter representative told Motherboard.
You know what to do, saints—keep lifting up our president in prayer!
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