After Twitter had brought down the banhammer on a number of high-profile accounts associated with “alt-right” movements earlier this week, the question was raised whether it would ever remove its most famous "controversial" Tweeter: Donald Trump. When asked if it really would ban the President-elect, the microblogging site said that if he broke the rules then his account would be removed.
When pressed on whether this specifically means Trump would be banned if he was judged to have broken the rules, the spokesperson confirmed: “The Twitter Rules apply to all accounts, including verified accounts.”
Not long after Twitter introduced its recent anti-troll measures, the site banned the head of the National Policy Institute, Richard Spencer. “This is corporate Stalinism,” said Spencer. “Twitter is trying to airbrush the Alt Right out of existence. They’re clearly afraid. They will fail!”
Back in July, the site permanently banned one of Trump’s biggest supporters, Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos, for allegedly inciting his followers to send abusive tweets to Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones.
Twitter has long tried to walk a fine line between keeping its reputation as a home for free speech and taking action against abusive users. One could only imagine the uproar that banning Trump would cause.
It seems Twitter’s stance is in contrast to that of Facebook. Some of the social network's employees called for Trump’s Facebook page to be suspended because his posts about banning Muslims from entering the US violate the site’s rules on hate speech. However, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said it would be inappropriate for the company to interfere with a major-party candidate’s political posts.