Harris goes after Warren for declining to support deleting Trump’s Twitter account

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Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) on Tuesday night went after fellow 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) over her failure to get behind Harris’s effort to pressure Twitter into deleting President Trump’s account. 

Over the past several weeks, Harris has launched a public campaign urging Twitter to delete Trump’s controversial account, which the president regularly uses to lambast his critics and promote misinformation. Last week, Warren, one of the top tech antagonists in the Democratic presidential race, declined to back Harris’s call. 

{mosads}”I was surprised to hear that you did not agree with me that on this subject around what should be the rules on corporate responsibility,” Harris said directly to Warren at the Democratic primary debate in Ohio. “When I called on Twitter to suspend Donald trump’s account … you did not agree.”

“I would urge you to join me,” Harris added. 

Warren was the first presidential candidate to call for breaking up tech giants including Facebook, Amazon and Google, arguing they have amassed too much power over speech and the digital marketplace. 

But she said she doesn’t agree with Harris’s approach to taking on Big Tech.

“I don’t want to push Donald Trump off Twitter,” Warren said. “I want to push him out of the White House.” 

Warren said instead, she believes the U.S. can take on the large tech firms by enforcing antitrust laws it has on the books. She also used the opportunity to tout her pledge this week that she will decline to take money from tech executives. 

“I’m not willing to give up and let a handful of monopolists dominate our economy and our democracy,” Warren said. “It’s time to fight back.” 

Harris has made a series of public statements and sent a letter to Twitter in the days since Trump used his account to ramp up his attack on the House’s impeachment inquiry. Trump has tweeted to his more than 65 million followers that the impeachment efforts are “a COUP.” 

It’s not the first time politicians have raised concerns about Trump’s tweets, which critics argue have repeatedly violated the company’s content policies. But Twitter, alongside other top social media companies, have continually insisted that their policies allow greater leeway when it comes to speech from politicians. 

On Tuesday evening, Twitter posted a clarification of how it treats controversial tweets from political figures. The company wrote that even world leaders are not allowed to promote terrorism, make “clear threats of violence,” post private information, and more.

But the company says it will “err on the side of leaving the content up” when it comes from public figures. 

“When it comes to the actions of world leaders on Twitter, we recognize that this is largely new ground and unprecedented,” the company wrote. “We understand the desire for our decisions to be ‘yes/no’ binaries, but it’s not that simple. The actions we take and policies we develop will set precedent around online speech and we owe it to the people we serve to be deliberate and considered in what we do.” 

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