The myriad death wishes that have greeted the COVID-19 infection and hospitalization of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have forced Twitter and Facebook to issue a warning banning such posts. Twitter stated that it is against its policies for anyone to wish another death or bodily harm on its platform and that such posts will be removed.
However, the warning has sparked a lot of debate in the United States with many calling it unfair and discriminatory. People wonder why Twitter should take death wishes against President Trump seriously when hundreds of similar posts against other politicians and ordinary citizens have not been taken any seriously.
Four Democratic congresswomen who called themselves “The Squad” have expressed dismay at the warning, saying that Twitter had failed to act when people across the United States used the platform to wish them death and harm. The Squad is comprised of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. They all accuse Twitter and even Facebook of failing to act when people wished them grievous bodily harm with some commenters even telling them to go hang.
In searches made on Twitter to verify the claims of these women, some of the vindictive posts that came up include one which states “I hope you both hang for TREASON!” in reference to Tlaib and Omar, and another which states “@IlhanMN you should be tried for treason and I hope they hang you,” to Omar.
Regardless of the complaints of these women and many others who complained that aggressors used social media platforms to attack them, Twitter has stated emphatically that it will not tolerate hate speech or any form of personal attacks on anyone.
“Our policies – which apply to everyone, everywhere – are clear: We do not tolerate content that wishes, hopes or expresses a desire for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against an individual or group of people. If we identify accounts that violate these rules, we will take enforcement action,” a Twitter spokesperson stated.
Twitter emphasized that its “top priority to improve the health of the public conversation, and that includes ensuring the safety of people who use our service; abuse and harassment have no place on Twitter.” However, investigations revealed that the microblogging site has not suspended or removed the accounts of aggressors who used the platform to attack members of The Squad and other significant members of the public.