Twitter Account That Copies Trump Word-for-Word Suspended for 'Abuse'

A Twitter experiment copying president Trump's tweets word-for-word was flagged for abuse this weekend, but the original post from the head of state appears untouched.

As a result of the flag, Twitter suspended some of the account's features for 12 hours and forced the person running the profile, @SuspendThePres, to remove the tweet, which was found to be in violation of rules against "abuse and harassment," screenshots show.

The @SuspendThePres experiment—which is also active on Facebook—urges followers to report its posts in order to determine if there are disparities in how the social media platforms' enforce their rules for general users compared to the president.

Experiment Update - Just now coming off the second 12 hour suspension as outlined below. Tweet was forced to be deleted. Glad to be back. Onward we go to see if it will happen yet again.

The President’s tweet however is sill up and unabridged. https://t.co/90FLzmpltJ

— Will they suspend me? (@SuspendThePres) June 22, 2020

The Trump post found to have broken Twitter's policy was posted on June 20 and lashed out at former national security advisor John Bolton, who is publishing a tell-all book about his time in the White House, titled The Room Where It Happened.

"Bolton broke the law and has been called out and rebuked for so doing, with a really big price to pay" the president wrote in a widely-shared tweet Saturday. "He likes dropping bombs on people, and killing them. Now he will have bombs dropped on him!"

Based on the screenshots, Twitter said in its notice to @SuspendThePres: "You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. This includes wishing or hoping that someone experiences physical harm."

A notification confirmed it was limiting the account so it could only send direct messages to followers. It could no longer tweet, retweet, follow other accounts or like posts.

Trump's original tweet is online at the time of writing, and does not show any indications that it had been flagged for the same reasons as the @SuspendThePres post.

....Bolton broke the law and has been called out and rebuked for so doing, with a really big price to pay. He likes dropping bombs on people, and killing them. Now he will have bombs dropped on him!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2020

Late last month, Twitter restricted access to one of the president's tweets for "glorifying violence." Facebook chose not to restrict the same post, a decision that sparked public displays of employee revolt, staff resignations and numerous petitions.

For @SuspendThePres, sharing the same words verbatim on Twitter earned a 12-hour restriction, with the account locked down and the post forcefully removed.

The person behind the @SuspendThePres test, who remains anonymous but tweets under the handle @BizarreLazar, told Newsweek the new notice was a surprise.

"I'd say his [Twitter profile] has tens of thousands more reports against it due to the exposure level," they said. "I'm surprised that [Twitter] took action against my account without flagging his, like they did with the last tweet that got me suspended.

"Personal views aside, the results are definitely interesting. Twitter previously flagged... a tweet they said glorified violence and suspended the experiment for it.

"Now Twitter suspends the experiment account for a tweet they say violates their rules on abuse and harassment and has yet to take action on the president's tweet. It will be very interesting to see if Twitter also flags the same tweet from the president."

Twitter has been contacted for clarification.

Under the social network's rules, tweets from elected and government officials can be granted "public-interest exceptions" that keep potentially rule-breaking posts online so others can discuss the statements. That may explain the enforcement disparity.

"We recognize that sometimes it may be in the public interest to allow people to view tweets that would otherwise be taken down," Twitter policy says.

"In rare instances, we may choose to leave up a tweet from an elected or government official that would otherwise be taken down. Instead we will place it behind a notice providing context about the rule violation that allows people to click through."

In a 2019 blog post detailing how such decisions are made, Twitter said: "With critical elections and shifting political dynamics around the world, we recognize that we're operating in an increasingly complex and polarized political culture.

"These are constantly evolving challenges and we'll keep our policies and approach under advisement, particularly as we learn more about the relationship between tweets from world leaders and the potential for offline harm."

Trump's post about Bolton is also untouched on Facebook, which previously flagged the @SuspendThePres profile for violating rules on "violence and incitement" despite leaving Trump's version online. Facebook said it was an error and reinstated the post.

Twitter logo and Trump
In this photo illustration, a Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile phone with President Trump's Twitter page shown in the background on May 27, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia. OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty