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Twitter will not archive tweets from Trump’s suspended account

Tweets from the permanently suspended account of former President Trump will not be preserved on the platform, Twitter confirmed in a statement to CBS News. But the social media company said it is working with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to keep an official account of the statements the former president made on Twitter.

“Given that we have permanently suspended @realDonaldTrump, the content from the account will not appear on Twitter as it did previously or as archived administration accounts do currently, regardless of how NARA decides to display the data it has preserved,” a Twitter spokesperson said.

In a statement to CBS News, NARA said it intends to provide public access to all of the captured and preserved social media content from Mr. Trump, including blocked and deleted tweets. NARA said “ultimately the platform owners can decline to host these accounts” and added that it is working to make the content available for the public.

“Twitter is solely responsible for the decision of what content is available on their platform. NARA works closely with Twitter and other social media platforms to maintain archived social accounts from each presidential administration,” NARA said in a statement.

The suspended Twitter Inc. account of U.S. President Donald Trump on a smartphone arranged in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. 

Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

While Mr. Trump’s personal page will not be archived, Twitter has kept a record of several institutional government accounts, including those that belong to former White House press secretaries Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kayleigh McEnany. 

The @POTUS45 account, which was the official government page for the president, as well as the official @WhiteHouse45 account are both archived on Twitter as well.

Twitter permanently suspended Mr. Trump’s account on January 8, citing the “risk of further incitement of violence” two days after a mob of Mr. Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, resulting in the deaths of five people. There have been more than 363 cases that have been unsealed in connection to the riot.

The social media company has defended its decision to permanently ban Mr. Trump from the platform. The company’s CEO Jack Dorsey said in January that suspending Mr. Trump was “the right decision for Twitter” as it faced “an extraordinary and untenable circumstance” that forced it “to focus all of our actions on public safety.”

Dorsey also expressed concern saying the decision “sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over part of the global public conversation.”

Mr. Trump wasn’t the first president to use Twitter but archrival experts say preserving digital records are still a challenge. Rachel Vogt, president of the society of American archivists, told CBS News that innovative resources are necessary to preserve digital content in perpetuity. 

“There is a perception that when we have things that are already digital or we digitize them, that they’ll be fine forever and that isn’t actually the case because we have to continually make sure that those records are still accessible and we still have the technology necessary to be able to read them,” Vogt said. “That’s a really huge challenge for all of us who work with archival records.”

Vogt said deciding whether retweets or liked tweets by Mr. Trump should be part of the archival record is an important consideration. She added that another challenge will be deciding if the just content of the tweet will be archived or if additional context surrounding the statement is also necessary. 

Following the riots at the Capitol, Mr. Trump was also suspended from Facebook and Instagram. Facebook is currently waiting for its independent Oversight Board to decide if Trump can come back to the platform or if his indefinite suspension should be upheld. 

Twitter recently asked for public input on whether world leaders should be subject to the same rules as other users and wants feedback on what kind of enforcement they think would be appropriate when a world leader violates rules of engagement.

“Politicians and government officials are constantly evolving how they use our service, and we want our policies to remain relevant to the ever-changing nature of political discourse on Twitter and protect the health of the public conversation,” the company said in a blog post last month.

A survey in 14 languages is available for the public until next week and the company has said it will use those responses, along with recommendations from human rights experts to update its policy surrounding world leaders. 

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