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Twitter to flag politicians' tweets that break harassment, violence policies

By Danielle Haynes
The change requires users to acknowledge, before they can read the tweet, that it violates Twitter policy. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/5cb8b49f97916ebb4504010aac77b584/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
The change requires users to acknowledge, before they can read the tweet, that it violates Twitter policy. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

June 27 (UPI) -- Twitter unveiled a new plan Thursday to begin flagging tweets by political candidates and officials that violate its policies.

Instead of removing posts, Twitter will put a notice on the offending post that reads, "The Twitter Rules about abusive behavior apply to this tweet. However, Twitter has determined it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain available." Users won't be able to see the tweet until they click past the warning.

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Twitter said it will also use an algorithm to downgrade the tweet so it's less likely to appear in users' feeds.

The new rules apply to verified government officials and political candidates with more than 100,000 followers.

"Serving the public conversation includes providing the ability for anyone to talk about what matters to them; this can be especially important when engaging with government officials and political figures," Twitter said in a blog post announcing the changes.

"By nature of their positions these leaders have outsize influence and sometimes say things that could be considered controversial or invite debate and discussion. A critical function of our service is providing a place where people can openly and publicly respond to their leaders and hold them accountable."

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Twitter said the change is an attempt to strike a balance between cracking down on harassing or violent tweets while also still allowing politicians to be held accountable for sending controversial messages.

The company said it's established a team with the sole focus of enforcing the new policy.

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