Twitter on Monday labeled but refused to take down a pair of highly transphobic tweets attacking Adm. Rachel Levine, the assistant secretary for health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Why it matters: Twitter has a practice of often labeling — but not removing — tweets from elected officials that would otherwise violate its terms of service.
- The tweets, linked here, misgender Levine while also using extremely vile terminology to describe gender reassignment surgery.
- Twitter’s move means that people will have to click through a warning to view the tweets. Twitter will also limit sharing of the posts.
What they’re saying: “The Tweet you referenced violated the Twitter Rules on hateful conduct,” Twitter said in a statement to Axios.
- “However, we’ve determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible, and has been labeled in line with our policies.”
Meanwhile, GLAAD, the LGBTQ civil rights group, condemned Twitter’s move as inadequate.
- “This account has repeatedly and intentionally violated Twitter’s Hateful Conduct guidelines against targeted deadnaming and misgendering of transgender people,” a GLAAD spokesperson told Axios. “It’s clear that some politicians see pushing malicious, anti-trans content on social media as part of their election strategy, even with the full knowledge that such content is violative.”
Between the lines: Twitter has already suspended and then banned Greene’s personal Twitter account but has refused in the past to take action against her official account despite apparent violations of various policies, including the prohibition against deliberate misgendering.
- Allowing the latest tweets to remain reignites questions as to just what it takes to get Twitter to remove tweets from elected officials. Twitter eventually banned former President Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection.
- A spokesperson for Adm. Levine declined to comment.
Be smart: The tweets also falsely promote the idea that gender-affirming care for youth relates to surgery.
- For young trans kids, gender-affirming care involves social transition and support. Kids approaching puberty may be prescribed puberty blockers to delay the onset of puberty while some older teens are allowed access to hormones.