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Twitter Starts Banning Extremists Under New Rules, Which Exempt Trump

Twitter banned a number of accounts associated with far-right extremists Monday morning, including at least one that has been retweeted by President Trump, as it began to institute new rules against hate and harassment. However, the President’s own account will be safe from any such steps for the time being, thanks to an exception that shields government-linked accounts.

Some of the accounts banned on Monday included the Traditionalist Worker Party, a group of white supremacists known for its anti-semitism, the pro-confederate League of the South, as well as the American Nazi Party. Twitter also banned accounts from individuals associated with these groups, as well as far-right extremists from the U.K., including the anti-immigrant group Britain First.

The latter rose to prominence after Trump retweeted islamophobic videos posted by one of its leaders last month, prompting international condemnation. Those videos disappeared from Trump’s Twitter timeline Monday, as the group’s deputy leader was banned as well.

But Trump’s own account appears to be safe from any such ban. The company has said in the past that it would exempt newsworthy tweets from its own rules, seemingly giving Trump a pretty flexible loophole. On Monday, Twitter further clarified that it would not apply its new rules to military and government entities.

This was ostensibly meant to ensure that governments engaged in an armed conflict can still use Twitter — but it could also be applied to past tweets of Trump, in which he threatened North Korea with nuclear war.

“We’re making these changes to create a safer environment for everyone,” Twitter said in a blog post Monday. “In our efforts to be more aggressive here, we may make some mistakes and are working on a robust appeals process. We’ll evaluate and iterate on these changes in the coming days and weeks, and will keep you posted on progress along the way.”

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