Twitter has said it will not block world leaders or remove their “controversial tweets” amid calls to remove US President Donald Trump from the social media platform.
In a blog post the company said its purpose “is to serve and help advance the global, public conversation” and therefore would not remove content from elected leaders.
Twitter had already said in September that “newsworthiness” and whether a tweet is “of public interest” are among the factors it considers before removing an account or a tweet.
The company’s response comes after President Trump posted a tweet about North Korea, which led to calls for him to be banished from the site.
“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times,’ Mr Trump tweeted.
“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!”
Following the tweet, critics argued that Mr Trump’s continued presence on the network was endangering the world and violating Twitter’s ban on threats of violence.
But Twitter reiterated its stance, saying: “Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation because of their outsized impact on our society.
“Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets, would hide important information people should be able to see and debate.
“It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.
“We review Tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly. No one person’s account drives Twitter’s growth, or influences these decisions.”
It added: “We work hard to remain unbiased with the public interest in mind.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Twitter’s statement.
Some Twitter users expressed support for the company’s decision, while others complained of a double standard.
“If I tweeted half of what Trump has since he entered office, I’d be permanently banned from this platform,” @michaelranaii tweeted.