UPDATE: After publishing this article, the tweet from William Leitch has been deleted. Below is a screenshot of the now-deleted tweet.
As blue checkmarks delete tweets smearing Catholic high school students, Twitter itself finds nothing wrong with tweets calling for outright violence against those students, who are receiving death threats.
One user reported two of these tweets to Twitter, believing that calling for targeted violence against minors violated the websites policies against abuse. Many more likely reported the tweets as well, but this user shared screenshots of Twitter’s responses with The Daily Wire on the condition of anonymity, fearing reprisal from their employer.
One tweet reported to Twitter was from author Reza Aslan, asking if anyone had “ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s?” and included a photo of one of the Catholic teens. The tweet has not been deleted.
Honest question. Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s? pic.twitter.com/jolQ7BZQPD
— Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan) January 20, 2019
In response to the reported tweet, Twitter said it had “reviewed your report carefully and found that there was no violation of the Twitter Rules against abusive behavior.”
The email also included a claim that a variety of factors are taken into consideration when determining whether Twitter should take action, and states that “context matters.”
“Some Tweets may seem to be abusive when viewed in isolation, but may not be when viewed in the context of a larger conversation. While we accept reports of violations from anyone, sometimes we also need to hear directly from the target to ensure we have proper context,” Twitter stated in the email. “The number of reports we receive does not impact our assessment of whether something violates the Twitter Rules.”
The Twitter user who provided the information to The Daily Wire also reported a tweet from MLB national correspondent and former founding editor of Deadspin, William Leitch.
“Every single one of these kids was once, pretty recently, a baby who didn’t know anything about anything in the world they were entering. This is the world given to them. (Also, I want to punch all of them. They really need to be punched,)” Leitch tweeted.
Every single one of these kids was once, pretty recently, a baby who didn’t know anything about anything in the world they were entering. This is the world given to them. (Also, I want to punch all of them. They really need to be punched.)
One day later, Leitch followed up this tweet by claiming he does “not encourage punching.”
“Getting some pushback on the punching thing here. I’m not punching anyone. I do not encourage punching. But if either one of my sons ever, EVER acted anywhere even close to this, if someone punched them in the nose, the level of sympathy they would get from their father is zero,” he tweeted.
Getting some pushback on the punching thing here. I’m not punching anyone. I do not encourage punching. But if either one of my sons ever, EVER acted anywhere even close to this, if someone punched them in the nose, the level of sympathy they would get from their father is zero.
Twitter sent the same response about Leitch’s original tweet, claiming it did not violate its rules against abusive behavior.
Not only did Twitter find no violations, it made that decision rather quickly. An email reviewed by The Daily Wire shows Twitter sent a notice that it had received the report about Aslan’s tweet at 9:31 a.m. on Jan. 20, 2019. The notice that it found no violation came at 9:40 a.m.
An email confirming the report on Leitch’s tweet was received was sent at 9:39 a.m. on Jan. 20, while the email finding no violation was sent at 10:07 a.m.
Twitter’s policy against abusive behavior includes a section about violence:
You may not make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people. This includes, but is not limited to, threatening or promoting terrorism. You also may not affiliate with organizations that — whether by their own statements or activity both on and off the platform — use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes.
It also states:
You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. We consider abusive behavior an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice.
It is unclear how suggesting the teenage students “really need to be punched” or that a single, private, underage individual has a “punchable face” doesn’t “make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people.”
A Twitter spokesperson, while responsive, did not provide The Daily Wire with answers as to how these two tweets do not violate the company’s policy against violence and abuse.
Considering Twitter took action against The Daily Wire’s own Jeremy Boreing for allegedly “promoting or encouraging suicide or self-harm” over a tweet about brussels sprouts, it seems odd that they couldn’t find the violation in the aforementioned tweets.