There will finally be some consequences for Trump's hate speech on his favorite platform.
Trump's vitriolic tweets are on track to be labeled with a special warning reserved for public officials and leaders who engage in "abusive behavior," Twitter announced on Thursday.
The warning will say: "The Twitter Rules about abusive behavior apply to this Tweet. However, Twitter has determined it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain available." Accounts that get the warning will also be placed in a digital timeout.
A senior Trump administration official told the Daily Beast that someone "will print out an article on the new policy and show it to the president," the site reported Thursday.
"He is not going to like this," the official added.
Trump has "repeatedly tested" Twitter's standards for behavior, the Washington Post noted Thursday: "Last year, he used the service to call a former aide who is African American a 'dog.' He tweeted a video of him shoving a person to the ground with a CNN logo superimposed over the face. He has tweeted about people’s physical appearance and called them dumb."
The social media site has previously allowed Trump's account to stay active despite violating its terms of service, due to Trump's position as president. Now, the entire world will see his messages labeled when he goes over the line.
"There are certain cases where it may be in the public’s interest to have access to certain Tweets, even if they would otherwise be in violation of our rules," Twitter announced in a blog post.
In those instances, Twitter said, "we'll place a notice — a screen you have to click or tap through before you see the Tweet — to provide additional context and clarity."
Twitter also said it would "take steps to make sure the Tweet is not algorithmically elevated on our service." That would mean fewer people would be likely to see the tweet.
Among the reasons cited for the new policy was "reducing the potential harm caused by these Tweets."
Twitter announced three criteria for accounts that would receive the new warning label: They must represent a government official running for office, have more than 100,000 followers, and be verified users of Twitter. Trump's name wasn't mentioned, but he meets all three criteria.
Trump has often been criticized for using his Twitter account to promote hate and bigotry to millions of people.
In November 2017, Trump promoted the anti-Muslim hate group Britain First on his account.
"Retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do," said UK prime minister Theresa May in a publicly televised address.
Trump pleased racists in August 2018 after he tweeted a call for an investigation into the false conspiracy theory, often promoted by bigots, that South Africa was engaged in "white genocide" and enabling the "large scale killing of farmers."
"South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past," South Africa's official Twitter account stated at the time in a direct rebuke of Trump.
Trump is practically incapable of communicating without being abusive or bigoted. Now, on Twitter at least, he may face some real consequences for that.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.