President Trump has used his Twitter account as a megaphone during his administration. When he leaves office, he will need to abide by a different set of rules.
Mr. Trump is currently able to tweet with less risk, compared with private citizens, of having tweets taken down or his account suspended. Mr. Trump’s Twitter account, which has more than 88 million followers, will no longer receive special privileges when he becomes a private citizen, Twitter spokesman Nick Pacilio said.
The loss of privileges reserved for world leaders and public officials would mean that if Mr. Trump violates the site’s rules, those tweets would be taken down rather than labeled in the future, Mr. Pacilio said. Mr. Trump’s tweets have been labeled by the company repeatedly both before and since the election, often with a warning that “this claim about election fraud is disputed.”
Twitter could face a politically delicate decision on how far to go if Mr. Trump does violate the rules after he leaves office. The company has yet to decide how it would treat any future policy violations by Mr. Trump and plans to examine his account on a case-by-case basis, a person familiar with the matter said.
Twitter created several policies over the past year to address misinformation on its platform, and they may need to continue evolving, said Peter Greenberger, a former executive at Twitter and Alphabet Inc.’s Google focusing on politics.
“I expect Twitter will still see the newsworthiness of his tweets and allow him to continue to push the envelope,” he said of Mr. Trump and his possible 2024 rerun for the White House.
The White House declined to comment.
Mr. Trump is the first president to regularly use his personal Twitter account as a way to communicate with the public beyond announcements. He has tweeted official nominations and firings, solicited input and expressed his opinion on a range of topics. His tweets, typically written by him or White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino, often include one-word responses, capitalized words or exclamation points.
Twitter has said its approach to world leaders, candidates and public officials is based on “the principle that people should be able to choose to see what their leaders are saying with clear context.” The company’s policy bans tweets that promote terrorism, violence, self-harm; relate to child sexual trafficking; or share private information, photos or videos without consent. Twitter has said it applies a different standard to the messages of politicians compared with regular civilians because politicians’ messages could be newsworthy.
Primary candidates running for House, Senate or governor are verified and labeled as an official candidate by Twitter, if they have Federal Election Commission filings and a Ballotpedia listing for the candidate.
If Mr. Trump continues to violate Twitter’s rules after leaving office, Twitter as a nongovernment platform could take the account down as it would of any other private citizen, said Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. “Part of what makes Twitter powerful is that it amplifies speech,” he said. “When Twitter decides to allow speech to stay on that platform, it allows that speech to be amplified.”
The National Archives and Records Administration, in a statement, confirmed it will receive and archive content posted to Trump’s official accounts. The @Potus account will be renamed @Potus45 and will be frozen as-is on Twitter, according to the statement. Mr. Trump will maintain control of his personal @realDonaldTrump account post-presidency, according to the statement.
After Mr. Trump was inaugurated in January 2017, he continued using his personal account, which he has had since March 2009. The White House uses the @Potus account that President Obama first held.