Twitter explains why Trump's North Korea tweet wasn't removed

WASHINGTON -- Twitter is citing "newsworthiness" and the public interest as reasons why it didn't remove President Donald Trump's declaration in a tweet that North Korean leaders may not "be around much longer."

Trump tweeted Saturday: "Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!"

On Monday, North Korea's top diplomat said Mr. Trump's tweet that leader Kim Jong Un "won't be around much longer" was "a declaration of war" against his country by the United States.

"This is clearly a declaration of war," Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters through a translator in New York. "The U.N. Charter stipulates individual member states' rights to self-defense. Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down the United States' strategic bombers even when they're not yet inside the airspace border of our country."

Later, at the White House, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that Mr. Trump's remarks should not be viewed as a declaration of war.

"We've not declared war on North Korea, and frankly the suggestion of that is absurd," Sanders said.

Twitter's rules state users "may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism."

Twitter responded to questions about the policy Monday, saying in a series of messages on its public policy account that "newsworthiness" is one of the factors it considers in determining if a tweet breaks the platform's rules. It says the policy has been internal, but its public-facing rules will be updated to reflect it.