Twitter flags Trump multiple times, but Iran’s Supreme Leader appears to get a free pass for incendiary tweets

Chris White, DCNF 

  • Twitter has flagged three tweets from President Donald Trump since late May, one of which was fact-checked while the others were concealed for violating the company’s policies against abusive behavior and glorifying violence.
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, meanwhile, has managed to avoid scrutiny from Twitter over tweets he composed in May calling for the elimination of Israel. The company is reportedly banned in Iran.
  • Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to suspend Khamenei permanently “over his consistent posting of anti-Semitic and genocidal posts,” according to The Times of Israel.

Twitter flagged President Donald Trump multiple times over the past month while Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei managed to avoid running afoul of the company’s moderators despite repeatedly posting anti-Semitic tweets.

The social media platform took action against three of Trump’s tweets since the end of May, fact-checking one and censoring. Twitter has yet to moderate Khamenei, even as the Iranian leader posts tweets calling for the annihilation of Israel and for “armed resistance” against the “Zionist regime.”

Twitter, which is reportedly banned in Iran, updated its policies in 2019 to allow the company to conceal content from world leaders that violate the platform’s standards while leaving the tweets intact and accessible.

Twitter fact-checked the president after he said in a May 26 tweet that California’s mail-in ballots would lead to widespread voter fraud. A note from Twitter below the Tweet reads “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” and redirects users to articles refuting Trump’s claim.

The company censored a Trump tweet on May 29 after he called people rioting and looting in Minneapolis “THUGS” and suggested that he would send in the military. He added, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Twitter hid Trump’s tweet under a banner noting that the post violates company rules against glorifying violence.

Trump was referring to riots and looting that took place during demonstrations following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on May 25 after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, as a video recording of the incident showed.

The platform concealed another Trump tweet Tuesday for warning activists that they will be met with “serious force” if they build an autonomous zone in Washington, D.C.

The president’s tweet was apparently a warning to activists who are seeking to build a so-called “autonomous zone” near the White House.

“There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!” the president wrote in the since-flagged tweet.

After the first two actions against his tweets, Trump signed an executive order in May making tech companies liable for censorship.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in May to suspend the Iranian supreme leader’s account, according to The Times of Israel.

“The company’s Hateful Conduct Policy stipulates that a user ‘may not promote violence against, or directly attack, or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin or religious affiliation … or calls for mass murder,’” Farkash-Hacohen’s office told The Israel Times in a press statement that month.

She added that Twitter must suspend Khamenei “over his consistent posting of anti-Semitic and genocidal posts.”

Khamenei told his Twitter followers on May 20, “We will support and assist any nation or any group anywhere who opposes and fights the Zionist regime, and we do not hesitate to say this.” He repeated similar sentiments one day later.

“The elimination of the Zionist regime does not mean the massacre of the Jewish ppl. The ppl of Palestine should hold a referendum,” Khamenei wrote in a May 21 tweet. “Any political sys they vote for should govern in all of Palestine. The only remedy until the removal of the Zionist regime is firm, armed resistance.”

He later doubled down.

“The Zionist regime is a deadly, cancerous growth and a detriment to this region. It will undoubtedly be uprooted and destroyed,” Khamenei wrote on May 22. “Then, the shame will fall on those who put their facilities at the service of normalization of relations with this regime.”

A Twitter spokesman directed the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) to a blog post on the company’s website explaining the policy pertaining to world leaders’ content. The portion he highlighted noted that “comments on political issues of the day, or foreign policy saber-rattling on economic or military issues” do not violate Twitter’s rules.

The spokesman declined to address DCNF’s question about whether any of Khamenei’s tweets have been flagged since the company updated its policies.

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