Members of The Squad questioned Twitter's policies for the protection of its users after the platform claimed it banned harassment against "anyone."
United States President Donald Trump was recently diagnosed with Coronavirus. On Twitter, users were not shy about their desire to see him succumb to the disease. Ever since his diagnosis was made public, thousands of tweets wishing for the President's death were posted to the social media platform. In light of this, Twitter banned any and all posts of the sort. Women of color, particularly members of "The Squad," wondered where these protections were when they received similar death threats on the website. Democratic Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts called on Twitter to do more to protect women from harassment online, CNN reports.
Twitter bans posts wanting Trump to die.— Khaled Beydoun (@KhaledBeydoun) October 4, 2020
But didn’t ban posts wishing for the death of:
— Ilhan Omar
— Rashida Tlaib
— And many, many more...
Why the double standard, @Jack?
A verified account run by Twitter's communications team posted over the weekend, "Tweets that wish or hope for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against anyone are not allowed and will need to be removed. This does not automatically mean suspension." The tweet was made in response to a post by journalist Jason Koebler which claimed that the platform would "suspend people who tweet that they hope Trump dies." Tlaib replied to the company, "Seriously though, this is messed up. The death threats towards us should have been taking more seriously by [Twitter]." Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Pressley joined in on the criticism, agreeing that threats against them had not been taken seriously enough by the website.
So... you mean to tell us you could‘ve done this the whole time? https://t.co/7OmgEYjWnI— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 3, 2020
The rule posted by the Twitter communications team is not a new one, but tweets that do not abide by the social media platform are not always taken down. "At Twitter, it is our top priority to improve the health of the public conversation, and that includes ensuring the safety of people who use our service. Abuse and harassment have no place on Twitter," a spokesperson said in an interview with CNN. "Our policies—which apply to everyone, everywhere—are clear: We do not tolerate content that wishes, hopes or expresses a desire for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against an individual or group of people. If we identify accounts that violate these rules, we will take enforcement action."
The Squad is absolutely right to complain.— Chandra Prasad (@chandrabooks) October 5, 2020
Their lives were not deemed important enough for protection, whereas the rich, powerful, narcissistic white guy who is literally getting away with murder is getting the king’s treatment.https://t.co/BOuzWL8RoB
However, one quick search will display the number of abusive tweets posted against members of The Squad. One user tweeted to Omar and Tlaib, "I hope you both hang for TREASON!" Another added, "You should be tried for treason and I hope they hang you." If some of the country's most important politicians are not protected by Twitter's policies, there is serious concern about how other users on the website are treated. Women of color are particularly vulnerable in these situations. If Trump's diagnosis has highlighted one thing, it is the absolute need for social media websites to truly apply their rules to all users—not just corrupt politicians.