Twitter is working on implementing “changes” to “existing product features and policies” following calls to censor President Trump’s repeated airing of a conspiracy theory involving the death of a former aide to MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough, a company spokesperson told National Review.
“We are deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family,” a Twitter spokesperson said. “We’ve been working to expand existing product features and policies so we can more effectively address things like this going forward, and we hope to have those changes in place shortly.”
Last week, the husband of Lori Klausutis, the woman who died from an abnormal heart rhythm while working for Scarborough in 2001, sent a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey asking that Twitter take down Trump’s tweets about his wife. It was read on Scarborough’s Morning Joe Tuesday.
“The President’s tweet that suggests that Lori was murdered — without evidence and contrary to the official autopsy) — is a violation of Twitter’s community rules and terms of service,” Timothy Klausutis wrote in the letter, which was obtained by the New York Times. “An ordinary user like me would be banished from the platform for such a tweet but I am only asking that these tweets be removed.”
The president has tweeted multiple times suggesting that Scarborough killed Klausutis, and asking that law enforcement look into the “cold case.”
“The opening of a Cold Case against Psycho Joe Scarborough was not a Donald Trump original thought, this has been going on for years, long before I joined the chorus,” Trump tweeted after news of the letter broke Tuesday. “I find Joe to be a total Nut Job, and I knew him well, far better than most. So many unanswered & obvious questions, but I won’t bring them up now! Law enforcement eventually will?”
New York Times reporter Kara Swisher, who broke the news of the letter, wrote that sources at Twitter told her that the company was considering a number of policy changes to address the issue, including the option of labeling Trump’s tweets “as false” and adding context by linking “to myriad high-quality information and reporting that refute the tweets’ sinister insinuations.”
“After initial hesitance in dealing with Mr. Trump’s tweets about Ms. Klausutis, the company has accelerated work on a more robust rubric around labeling and dealing with such falsehoods,” Swisher wrote.
Twitter, which began to explore the active policing of its platform earlier this year, in March labeled a doctored video of Joe Biden “manipulated media” after it was shared by White House social-media director Dan Scavino and retweeted by Trump. That was the first instance in which Twitter flagged “misleading” material.