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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Twitter announced Thursday that it will add warning screens to tweets that violate the platform's rules, but that aren't being taken down because the service determines they are "a matter of public interest."

Between the lines: As the 2020 elections ramp up, Twitter will likely become a hotbed for political attacks, especially by President Trump — whose previous tweets targeting certain individuals have prompted petitions to have him removed from the platform. The flags add a new level of accountability to online content, abusive behavior and misinformation in politics.

  • Twitter says it won't add the flag to past tweets and rarely expects to use the feature going forward given the criteria for what comments would elicit such a designation.
  • The flag could limit the distribution of some politicians tweets, but will likely fuel debates on whether those politicians are being "censored."

Details: According to a Twitter blog post, the warning screens will only apply to certain users that meet all of the following criteria.

  • Accounts representing a government official, as well as those running for office or in consideration for a government position
  • Verified users
  • Users with over 100,000 followers

The screens, or "notices," will temporarily cover the tweets in question, much like existing warnings for graphic content, and will require users to physically click "view" in order to be seen. Posts with the flag will also see less algorithmic promotion by Twitter and won't be included in users' recommendations or feed when viewing by "top tweets."

  • Twitter said a cross-functional team will be in charge of determining if inappropriate tweets meet the flag's qualifications, and whether it should be preserved in order to "allow others to hold the government official, candidate for public office, or appointee accountable for their statements."

Go deeper: How Jack Dorsey plans to change Twitter

Go deeper

FBI report likely to show record increase in murders in 2020

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If the FBI data released next week shows what's expected — that 2020 saw the highest single-year spike in U.S. murders in at least six decades — experts say the sudden job losses, fears and other jolts to society at the start of COVID-19 will likely have been the overwhelming drivers.

Why it matters: Many Democrats already feared that rising crime could hurt their party in the 2022 midterms.

29 mins ago - Health

Some experts see signs of hope as COVID cases fall

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

New coronavirus cases are continuing to decline, and some experts are cautiously optimistic that the virus will continue to wane even into the fall and winter.

The big picture: The next few months are highly uncertain, and some localized outbreaks are all but guaranteed. But the U.S. is at least moving in the right direction again.

Air quality alerts issued as California fires threaten more sequoias

The Windy Fire blazes through the Long Meadow Grove of giant sequoia trees near the Trail of 100 Giants in Sequoia National Forest, near California Hot Springs, on Tuesday. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Two wildfires were threatening California's sequoia trees over overnight — hours after authorities issued fresh evacuation orders and warnings, along with air quality alerts.

The big picture: Air quality alerts were issued Wednesday for the Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley as smoke from the Windy and KNP Complex fires resulted in hazy, "ash-filled" skies from Fresno to Tulare, the Los Angeles Times notes.