Jan 3, 2018

Twitter faces heat over Trump's latest North Korea tweet

Twitter faced renewed criticism Tuesday after President Trump took to the service to taunt North Korea's Kim Jong-un over the size of his, um, nuclear button. Among other things, this tweet sparked a debate on the social media platform's policy and why this (and other Trump tweets) should be deemed allowable under Twitter's revised rules regarding inciting violence.

Yes, but: As former HUD public affairs director Brandon Friedman notes, Twitter included an exception in its latest rules on violence and physical harm that exempts governments and militaries. It's also not clear that this latest tweet represented a direct threat of violence even if it needlessly raises the risk of nuclear war. And then there's always Twitter's fallback defense of allowing otherwise impermissible tweets on the basis of "newsworthiness," though Twitter isn't relying on that one in this case.

Other takes: Twitter's former head of news and government Adam Sharp argues that Trump's messages to North Korea are bad policy, but shouldn't be banned. Meanwhile, a group of protesters are planning to demonstrate Wednesday outside Twitter's HQ demanding that either Trump or Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey goes.

My thought bubble: This issue isn't going away for Twitter. This actually isn't as hard a case as other types of Trump tweets, particularly those in which he lashes out at groups of Americans. The big question for Twitter is what wouldn't they let the president say.

Go deeper

Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and South Korea ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 50 mins ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."

Situational awareness

Warren Buffett. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Warren Buffett releases annual letter, reassures investors about future of Berkshire Hathaway
  2. Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins
  3. Reports: Facebook offers up to $5 for voice recordings
  4. America's future looks a lot like Nevada
  5. Greyhound bars immigration sweeps