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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Tim Scott says Trump "misspoke" when he told Proud Boys to "stand by"

Photo: Bonnie Cash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters on Wednesday that he believes President Trump "misspoke" when he told the far-right "Proud Boys" group to "stand back and stand by" in response to a question about condemning white supremacy at the first presidential debate.

Catch up quick: Moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump on Tuesday, "Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?" Trump asked who specifically he should condemn, and then responded, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."

Updated 43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Commission on Presidential Debates wants changes

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Wednesday that it plans to implement changes to rules for the remaining debates, after Tuesday night's head-to-head between Joe Biden and Donald Trump was practically incoherent for most of the night.

What they are saying: "Last night's debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues," the CPD said in a statement.

Trump says he doesn't know who Proud Boys are after telling them to "stand by"

President Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he doesn't know who the Proud Boys are, after saying at the presidential debate last night that the far-right group should "stand back and stand by" in response to a question asking him to condemn white supremacists.

Why it matters: The comments set off outrage and calls for clarification from a number of Republican senators. After being asked several times on Wednesday whether he will condemn white supremacy, Trump responded, "I have always denounced any form — any form of any of that, you have to denounce. But I also — Joe Biden has to say something about antifa."