Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai asked Twitter in a tweet why Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s tweets against Israel don’t violate Twitter’s guidelines.
Pai highlighted an assortment of Khamenei’s tweets stating that “the Zionist regime is a deadly, cancerous growth” and calling for “firm, armed resistance [against Israel].”
“Serious question for @Twitter: Do these tweets from Supreme Leader of Iran @khamenei_ir violate ‘Twitter Rules about glorifying violence?’” Pai asked.
— Ajit Pai (@AjitPaiFCC) May 29, 2020
Richard Grenell, former acting director of National Intelligence, similarly tweeted, “For months I’ve called on @Jack & @Twitter to remove this Islamic radical from this platform. And nothing has been done. He denies his people the right to be on twitter while Jack allows him to spew homophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism and violence.”
For months I’ve called on @Jack & @Twitter to remove this Islamic radical from this platform. And nothing has been done. He denies his people the right to be on twitter while Jack allows him to spew homophobia, antisemitism, sexism and violence. https://t.co/JRb2OEBiA4
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) May 29, 2020
Pro-Israel activist Arsen Ostrovsky similarly tweeted, “Why is it that @Twitter
deemed @realDonaldTrump in violation of their rules, but not Iranian leader @khamenei_ir LITERALLY calling for genocide and destruction of Israel?”
A good question. Why is it that @Twitter deemed @realDonaldTrump in violation of their rules, but not Iranian leader @khamenei_ir LITERALLY calling for genocide and destruction of Israel? @jack @TwitterComms https://t.co/euve43XenI
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) May 29, 2020
On May 28, Twitter deemed President Donald Trump’s tweet stating “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” to be in violation of its guidelines for “glorifying violence.” Trump later said that he meant that “looting leads to shooting.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) sent a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on May 29 arguing that Twitter was in violation of the Trump administration’s sanctions against Iran since it’s providing Khamenei and Iranian Foreign Ministry Javad Zarif with a service to share their views. The Texas senator argued that Twitter has said that it won’t de-platform Khamenei and Zarif because the social media company’s “goal is to elevate and amplify authoritative health information as far as possible.”
“In early April, Khamenei and Zarif used their Twitter accounts to post anti-American disinformation and conspiracy theories, not authoritative health information,” Cruz wrote. “They use their accounts provided by Twitter to threaten and taunt their enemies real and imagined. In any event, Twitter’s corporate values and grave misapprehension of the threat that Khamenei and Zarif pose are irrelevant.”
The Iranian people are banned from using Twitter.
He added that he had previously sent Twitter a letter of warning in February arguing that the social media platform was violating the law, and that because it ignored that warning, it was time for the federal government to take action.
According to Twitter, “direct interactions with fellow public figures, comments on political issues of the day, or foreign policy saber-rattling on economic or military issues are generally not in violation of the Twitter Rules.”