Twitter says it hasn’t deleted Trump’s provocative North Korea tweet because of “newsworthiness”

After North Korea’s top diplomat described President Donald Trump’s recent tweets about the country as a “declaration of war,” Twitter explained why it hasn’t deleted them.

On its public policy account, Twitter said Trump’s tweets are still up because of their “newsworthiness”:

(For readers who prefer transcripts of tweet threads, Twitter’s global public policy team wrote “THREAD: Some of you have been asking why we haven’t taken down the Tweet mentioned here: … 1/6 We hold all accounts to the same Rules, and consider a number of factors when assessing whether Tweets violate our Rules 2/6 Among the considerations is “newsworthiness” and whether a Tweet is of public interest 3/6 This has long been internal policy and we’ll soon update our public-facing rules to reflect it. We need to do better on this, and will 4/6 Twitter is committed to transparency and keeping people informed about what’s happening in the world 5/6 We’ll continue to be guided by these fundamental principles 6/6”)

On Monday in New York City, North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, who was there to attend the United Nation General Assembly, told reporters that “since the United States has declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country.”

Ri was referring to tweets Trump wrote in reaction to his speech during the General Assembly, which was harshly critical of the president’s actions toward North Korea.

Twitter’s critics believe updating its “public-facing rules” isn’t the only thing Twitter needs to be better about and that many of Trump’s tweets—which have included gifs edited to depict him tackling a figure representing CNN to the ground or hitting a golf ball into Hillary Clinton’s backbreak several of the platform’s rules, including bans on targeted harassment and threatening or promoting violence.

Critics also argue that Trump has other platforms, including the official POTUS Twitter account, press conferences and the presidency, to share his views with the public, and that continuing to let him tweet with impunity from his personal account has not only resulted in violations of Twitter’s own standards, but may encourage abuse against whatever individual or group is currently in Trump’s sights. The latter scenario is also a matter of public interest because an increase in hate crimes has been linked with Trump’s rise to power.

While calls were made for Twitter to take action against Trump’s account even before he became president, events like his recent clashes with North Korean leadership, the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville and Congressional inquiries into how much social media platforms knew about Russian attempts to influence the election, have put more pressure on the company.