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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

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Virginia attorney general fires Jan. 6 investigator from university post

McIntire Amphitheater at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo: Robert Knopes/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The lead investigator for the Jan. 6 House select committee investigating the Capitol riot has been fired from his position as the University of Virginia's counsel by the state's new Republican attorney general, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Democrats say the removal of Tim Heaphy from his post after some three years while he's on leave from the university to investigate the insurrection is likely "retribution" for the House probe — an accusation strongly denied by the office of state Attorney General Jason Miyares (R).

5 hours ago - World

Taiwan's military scrambles jets after detecting 39 Chinese warplanes

J-20 stealth fighter jets in Zhuhai in the Guangdong Province of China last year. Photo: Chen Jimin/China News Service via Getty Images

Taiwan's defense force said 39 Chinese warplanes flew into its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Sunday.

Why it matters: The largest Chinese air force incursion into the zone since October came a day after the U.S. and Japanese navies conducted a joint exercise in the Philippine Sea.

6 hours ago - Sports

Gonzaga University revokes NBA great John Stockton's tickets over mask stance

Former Utah Jazz player John Stockton during a 2017 press conference in Salt Lake City. Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Gonzaga University suspended the season tickets of notable alumni John Stockton after the NBA Hall of Famer failed to comply with the school's basketball games mask mandate, the Spokesman-Review first reported.

Driving the news: "Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit," the former Utah Jazz point guard told the outlet in an interview Saturday.