Twitter has changed its explanation as to why it did not delete three graphic anti-Muslim videos retweeted by President Donald Trump.
“We mistakenly pointed to the wrong reason we didn’t take action on the videos from earlier this week,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in a tweet on Friday.
On Thursday, Trump retweeted three anti-Muslim videos first shared by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the far-right party Britain First. Trump’s retweets drew condemnation from Muslim groups, British officials and many in the US The White House defended the tweets, saying they were aimed at starting a conversation about immigration and security.
The videos contained violent assaults and graphic imagery. Many Twitter users criticized the company for not deleting the tweets, saying they appeared to violate the company’s policy that prohibits hateful conduct. That includes promoting violence, harassment, or threats against people based on their religious affiliation.
In response to questions on Thursday regarding why the tweets were still available, a Twitter(TWTR, Tech30) spokesperson referenced the company’s Help Center policy. It says Twitter may allow controversial content that might otherwise violate its rules if the company believes there is a legitimate public interest. “To help ensure people have an opportunity to see every side of an issue, there may be the rare occasion when we allow controversial content,” the policy reads.
But one day later, Twitter changed its explanation.
“These videos are not being kept up because they are newsworthy or for public interest,” Twitter Support tweeted on Friday. “Rather, these videos are permitted on Twitter based on our current media policy.”
It did not say which part of the policy the tweets were protected under.
Twitter declined to comment on its about-face beyond Friday’s tweet. The company would not say whether the videos violated Twitter’s hateful conduct policy.
“We’re still looking critically at all of our current policies, and appreciate all the feedback,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted.