The Twitter President. Farhad Manjoo writes that while Twitter has the right to ban Trump, they shouldn’t, or at least not based on his content to date. Currently I agree with Farhad – Trump uses the platform irresponsibly and without full care of the implications of what he says, but he doesn’t cross the “ban” line. [Related: Twitter has an opportunity to generally rethink what’s acceptable on their platform, and if they do, Trump’s tweets qualify for great scrutiny.]
But Twitter DOES have the chance to impact Trump in another way: perhaps it could help him understand the implications of his actions, or at least force him to make his way through some friction before he tweets. This isn’t Trump specific – in general, perhaps there are ways to influence the behavior of highly flagged accounts pre-banning. Maybe it looks like “kindness training.”
The challenge: how would you design an online training or in-app experience which encourages people to be nicer and reshapes their view of what’s appropriate? Would you prime them by showing pictures of cute babies in-between tweets? Would you give them a 10 screen training of how words can impact others negatively which they need to complete every day? Would you have an interstitial which asks “Would you say this in person to someone? If not, don’t tweet it?” A countdown timer that makes someone pause for 30 seconds by locking them out of the compose tweet screen during the midst of a tweetwar?
I can’t yet support exorcising @realdonaldtrump from the platform, but I do wonder if thinking about how to influence his behavior could give Twitter another vector in how they deal with abuse generally. Besides, I do enjoy the idea of his stubby little fingers having to swipe through a baby picture slideshow at 3am before launching a Twitter rant.