Social media giant Twitter has issued a statement following an insensitive trend on the micro-blogging platform where an unknowable number of people have wished the death of Donal Trump after he was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Friday.
Users who would use language suggestive of wishing death, bodily harm, fatal diseases, or any harm will be suspended or put on a ‘read-only’ mode, Twitter said, arguing these activities violate the platform’s “Abusive Behavior policy”, which prohibits tweets from “wishing or hoping serious harm on a person or group of people”.
The US President, arguably the world’s single-most powerful person Earth, became one of the handfuls of Head of State to have contacted the virus.
If media reports are to be believed, Trump is having a milder version of the virus and has been shifted from The White House to a hospital where he’ll spend seven days.
On Saturday Trump was shifted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland and as per CNN, Trump was feeling ‘very very fatigued’ and ‘having trouble breathing.’
But in a video statement, the President said ‘I think I am doing very well.’ In yet another tweet from his personal account, he tweeted: “Going well, I think! Thank you all. LOVE!!!”
But what gains so much more attention on his case is the fact he has reportedly, time and again downplayed the severity of the virus that has killed over 200,000 Americans alone.
Just a few days before President Trump confirmed he has the coronavirus, he ridiculed political opponent, Joe Biden, for wearing a face mask at all times, which is the ideal behavior recommended at this time.
While Joe Biden and many world leaders have wished Trump a speedy recovery, a bunch of cold-blooded internet users has wished death for the President, who’s 74, and medically falls under the ‘at-risk’ population from the virus.
“Content that wishes, hopes or expresses a desire for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against an individual is against our rules,” Twitter said in a statement.
A Tweeter spokesperson speaking to news agency The Guardian told the rule has been on the book since April and it applies to all irrespective of authority.
While Twitter makes no distinctions when it comes to open and blatant wish of death to someone, Facebook’s platform content moderation policy is diffrent.
Facebook has a different content policy for private and public figures, which according to the company allows them to enable “discussion, which often includes critical commentary of people who are featured in the news or who have a large public audience.”
What Facebook does to protect public figures from hatred is they “remove attacks that are severe as well as certain attacks where the public figure is directly tagged in the post or comment,” Motherboard reported.
This means, unfortunately, people can still wish death to the President on Facebook provided they don’t tag his account to a post, or “purposefully expose” him to “calls for death, serious disease, epidemic disease, or disability.”
Twitter’s efforts to avert harassment from the world’s most powerful man was received with some criticism though. Many people slammed the policy as hypocritical since many people on a regular basis receive death threats on the platform.
People from marginalized sections are often habituated from receiving dark comments from users, with little response from Twitter.