Many world leaders generally have wider latitude on Twitter and Facebook because their comments and posts are regarded as political speech that is in the realm of public interest. But what will happen to President Trump’s accounts on the social media platforms when he leaves office?
At Tuesday’s hearing, Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, said the company would no longer make policy exceptions for Mr. Trump after he leaves office in January. During Mr. Trump’s time as a world leader, Twitter allowed him to post content that violated its rules, though it began adding labels to some of the tweets starting in May to indicate that the posts were disputed or glorified violence.
“If an account suddenly is not a world leader anymore, that particular policy goes away,” Mr. Dorsey said.
In contrast, Mr. Zuckerberg said at the hearing that Facebook would not change the way it moderates Mr. Trump’s posts when he leaves office. Since Election Day, Facebook has labeled a few of Mr. Trump’s posts and has pointed users to accurate information about the results of the election, but it generally takes a hands-off approach. Facebook does not fact-check world leaders but could fact-check Mr. Trump after his term as president ends, a company spokesman said.
Most Twitter users must abide by a litany of rules, including ones forbidding threats, harassment, impersonation and copyright violations. If someone violates the rules, they are often required to delete the offending tweet or are temporarily banned.
“A critical function of our service is providing a place where people can openly and publicly respond to their leaders and hold them accountable,” a Twitter spokesman said. “With this in mind, 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.”