Jun 27, 2019

Twitter will flag — but not ban — politicians' tweets that break its rules

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

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Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen

Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been taken to the intensive care unit of St. Thomas Hospital in London due to increasingly severe coronavirus symptoms.

The backdrop: Johnson was admitted to the hospital on Sunday for what Downing Street called "routine tests" because his condition had not improved ten days after he tested positive for the virus. His condition has since "worsened," according to a statement, and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will step into his place "where necessary."

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 1,309,439 — Total deaths: 73,703 — Total recoveries: 273,546Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 352,546 — Total deaths: 10,389 — Total recoveries: 18,953Map.
  3. 2020 update: Wisconsin governor issues executive order to delay in-person primary voting until June.
  4. Public health latest: Asymptomatic children could play important role in coronavirus spread, new data from the CDC shows.
  5. States' latest: West coast states send ventilators to New York and other states experiencing a more immediate need — Data suggests coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  6. Jobs latest: Unemployment could already be at 13% "and moving higher," per former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Wisconsin governor issues order to delay in-person primary voting until June

Tony Evers. Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) issued an executive order Monday delaying in-person voting for the state's primary election — currently scheduled for Tuesday — until June 9.

Why it matters: Wisconsin was slated to be the only state to vote on Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic, despite having a stay-at-home order in place.

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