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Twitter Promises to Clarify Rules in Wake of Trump North Korea Threat Tweets

The president's threat that North Korea "won't be around much longer!" was newsworthy and of public interest, Twitter said.
image: Trump Twitter
President Donald J. Trump's Twitter page.Matthew Nighswander / NBC News

Twitter said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet warning that North Korea "won't be around much longer!" didn't violate its terms of service, which it said it would clarify publicly at a later date.

Trump tweeted Sunday that if North Korea's foreign minister "echoed thoughts of Little Rocket Man [Trump's nickname for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un] they won't be around much longer!"

Five days earlier, Trump also tweeted that under certain circumstances, the United States "will have no choice but to destroy #NoKo."

In June, the White House said Trump's tweets "are considered official statements by the president of the United States."

In a thread on its Public Policy page, the company said it had been asked why it didn't take down Trump's tweet in light of its rule reading: "You may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism."

"We hold all accounts to the same rules, and consider a number of factors when assessing whether Tweets violate our Rules," the company said. "Among the considerations is 'newsworthiness' and whether a Tweet is of public interest."

Related: What Would It Take to Shut Down Trump on Twitter?

It acknowledged, however, that those guidelines were internal and that "we need to do better" on being transparent about its rules.

"We'll soon update our public-facing rules to reflect it," Twitter said.

Making those guidelines public could alleviate some of the criticism the social-media platform has come under since Trump announced his presidential campaign in 2015.

Related: Is President Donald Trump Good For Twitter's Bottom Line?

The company's publicly posted rules already ban "hateful conduct," including direct attacks on other people.

But since he launched his campaign, the president has tagged numerous people with insults like "low class snob," "perv sleazebag" and "low I.Q. crazy," — and he famously labeled his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, as "Crooked Hillary."

Here's the full thread Twitter posted on Monday: