Following the news that President Donald Trump contracted COVID-19 this week, Twitter issued a reminder to some of the Republican president’s more overzealous critics.
The social media platform said it has no tolerance for people who wish serious harm or even death upon another person — and it doesn’t matter if they have mishandled the response to a pandemic that has caused the deaths of more than 200,000 Americans.
“Tweets that wish or hope for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against *anyone* are not allowed and will need to be removed,” Twitter’s official public relations account wrote Friday night, as Trump was being flown to Walter Reed hospital outside of Washington, D.C., for medical treatment.
And while the company said that such tweets would not automatically result in users getting their account suspended, the statement and its timing irked several female elected officials who are regularly subjected to threatening tweets, as well as their congressional aides.
“Is this policy uh retroactive?” Sarah Groh, the chief of staff for Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, asked, noting that her boss is one of “a few women of color in Congress that deal of piles of death threats weekly.”
Pressley herself shot back at Twitter, simply: “Please DM me.”
“So… you mean to tell us you could‘ve done this the whole time?” New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez added.
But it wasn’t just “squad” members who ripped Twitter’s statement over the weekend. The post received literally thousands of critical quote-tweets and replies, most frequently from women with progressive politics.
“Harassment and violence aren’t new to your platform,” Rep. Katherine Clark, a fellow Massachusetts Democrat, said in response.
“Women and especially women of color have long faced threats— and often it results in real world violence,” Clark said. “How about we react equally when anyone is endangered.”
In response, Twitter posted a series of tweets from a separate account late Saturday afternoon admitting that it “must do better.”
“We hear the voices who feel that we’re enforcing some policies inconsistently,” the company wrote, pledging to address the “concerns about our enforcement through action, not empty words.”
Original story here.