CNN's Brian Stelter: Did Trump's North Korea 'Button' Tweet Violate Twitter's Terms Of Service?


CNN media reporter Brian Stelter told host Anderson Cooper Tuesday night he asked Twitter if President Trump's tweet about North Korea and the "nuclear button" was a "violation" of the social media platform's terms of service due to the threat of violence. In the tweet, Trump wrote he also has a nuclear button, "but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"

Stelter also said Trump's tweet on the "nuclear button" and another one about "awards" for the "most dishonest & corrupt media" have raised questions about Trump's "mental health and fitness."

The CNNer summed up the tweets as "madness."

"We should start to call it that, shouldn't we?" Stelter said on behalf of the media. "When President Trump was inaugurated last January, some writers, some columnists like Andrew Sullivan started right away to raise concerns about the president's mental health, about his fitness for office. In the months that followed, we saw Republican Senators like Jeff Flake bring this up, try to ask about his fitness for office. Bob Corker, another name that comes to mind.

Stelter pondered how the media should cover the tweets. He said if it were a foreign leader, "we would" say these are "from a person who is not well, from a leader who is not fit for office," not simply report what it was that the president said.

"I think we can apply a test to his 16 tweets," Stelter declared. "The test would be: if this were the leader of Germany or China or Brazil, what would we say? How would we cover these tweets? We would say these are the messages from a person who is not well, from a leader who is not fit for office."

Stelter said a politician is meant to use social media to "persuade the public to come to their side," however that is not what Trump is doing. The CNNer said he reported the tweet to Twitter's spokesperson, inquiring if the president violated Twitter's terms of service by making a "threat toward North Korea." Stelter said "because it may threaten violence" Trump's tweet could have disobeyed the rules.

Stelter, who sent the inquiry, said "these are the kinds of questions" social media companies will "now have to ask themselves."

"In fact, I've asked Twitter spokesman, does this violate Twitter's terms of service, making this kind of threat toward North Korea?" he told Cooper. "So far, no immediate comment from the company, still waiting to hear. I think they're trying to decide if this kind of tweet -- referring to a nuclear button that he knows how to use and he knows how it works -- whether it actually is a violation of the terms of service because it may threaten violence."

"These are the kinds of questions social media companies now have to ask themselves," Stelter added.

Trump wrote: 'North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!'

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