A Trump Loss Means End of Twitter Special Treatment

Donald Trump
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The president's tweets will not be covered by Twitter's special policies for elected officials if his presidency ends in January.

Donald Trump will go back to being a regular Twitter user if he leaves office in January.

The president's Twitter account has been treated differently for the past four years. If he violates one of Twitter's policies, the social network doesn't remove his tweet like it would for most users. Instead, it affixes a warning to the post and limits its algorithmic promotion, but leaves it up. The company says in its rules and policies guidelines that it does this for elected and government officials because "it may be in the public interest to allow people to view Tweets that would otherwise be taken down."

In a statement, a Twitter spokesman said, "we want to be clear that the accounts of world leaders are not above our policies." Tweets that would result in enforcement for any user include those that feature the promotion of terrorism, clear and direct threats of violence, the disclosure of private information and the posting of intimate photos produced or distributed without a person's consent.

If Trump loses the presidential election against former Vice President Joe Biden, he would stop being an acting government official on Jan. 20. As a result, his Twitter account — he largely tweets from personal account @realDonaldTrump, where he has more than 88 million followers — would no longer receive special treatment.

A Twitter spokesman confirmed to THR that its policies for world leaders do not apply once an elected official leaves office. For instance, former President Barack Obama, who left office in January 2017 but still regularly tweets to his 125 million followers from his @BarackObama account, is treated like any Twitter user.

The 2020 presidential election has yet to be decided, with ballots still being counted in several states.

Twitter has put warning labels on eight of Trump's election-related tweets in recent days. The label tells users that the tweet, which they can still click to view, "might be misleading about an election or other civic process."

Bloomberg earlier reported on the change to Twitter's treatment of Trump if he loses the election.

Nov. 5, 8:18 p.m. Updated with a statement from Twitter and additional information about the company's policies.