Twitter allows Hamas, Iran leaders to use platform

Social media company permanently banned Donald Trump on Jan. 8

In this image from video, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, March 25, 2021. (House Energy and Commerce Committee via AP)

Twitter has allowed the Twitter account of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyyeh to remain active, despite a policy of a permanent ban on former President Donald Trump’s account for “risk of further incitement of violence.”

During the escalating crisis in Israel and the Gaza Strip, it was noted by journalist Jordan Schactel that the Hamas political leader celebrated the “bombing of Tel Aviv.”

The Twitter account of Imam Sayyid Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, has also remained on the platform.

Former FCC chairman Ajit Pai pointed some of Khamenei’s controversial tweets, including his calling of Israel “a deadly, cancerous growth and a detriment to this region” in May 2020.

Twitter has not directly commented on the accounts. In a 2019 blog post detailing its policy of accounts of world leaders, the company said they “are not above our policies entirely” and outlined certain actions that would lead to enforcement action, including:

  • Promotion of terrorism;
  • Clear and direct threats of violence against an individual (context matters: as noted above, direct interactions with fellow public figures and/or commentary on political and foreign policy issues would likely not result in enforcement);
  • Posting private information, such as a home address or non-public personal phone number;
  • Posting or sharing intimate photos or videos of someone that were produced or distributed without their consent;
  • Engaging in behaviors relating to child sexual exploitation; and
  • Encouraging or promoting self-harm.