US President Donald Trump sits at his desk in the Oval Office of The White House.

  • Twitter is working on labelling tweets from public figures when they violate its rules.
  • Twitter currently leaves up tweets from public figures, such as US President Trump, that break its rules because it considers them newsworthy.
  • Twitter's head of legal, policy, and trust said the problem with leaving these posts up is that it can make other users think that they can post similar content.

Twitter is working on labelling individual tweets from public figures, like US President Donald Trump, as being in violation of its rules.

During an interview at a Washington Post-sponsored event this week, Twitter's head of legal, policy, and trust Vijaya Gadde said the firm does have a line beyond which it will take down content from public figures - for example, if they make a violent threat against an individual.

When public figures post tweets that might be in violation of Twitter's usual rules - for example on bullying - Twitter will leave them up because it believes this kind of content is newsworthy. But Gadde said the problem with this is it can inspire other users to break rules.

Read more: Trump says "we have to do something" about social media

She was asked about Trump specifically, but talked in general terms about public figures. "Today when we leave that content on the platform there's no context around that. It just lives on Twitter and people can see it and they just assume that that's the type of content or behaviour that's allowed by our rules," Gadde said.

She said Twitter's engineers are working on a way to label individual tweets in an attempt to combat this. "One of the things we're working really closely on with our product and engineering folks is: how can we label that... how can we put some context around it so people are aware that that content is actually in violation of our rules," she added.

She also gave a specific example that users might need to "click through" to see a tweet which falls under Twitter's category for "dehumanisation".

The Twitter behaviour of Trump has been a conundrum for Twitter, as critics have said the social media firm should boot him off the platform for being in contravention of its rules on bullying. One example includes him referring to former staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman as a "dog".

A Twitter spokesman confirmed the company is exploring ways to provide more context around tweets.

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