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Twitter has hidden and attached a warning to one of US President Donald Trump’s tweets regarding the George Floyd Minneapolis riots, writing that he was ‘glorifying violence’.
The president posted a tweet that appeared to threaten those protesting the death of Floyd – an unarmed black man who died in police custody after being pinned down by his neck – with being shot. ‘When the looting starts, the shooting starts,’ Trump wrote.
Twitter has since added a message to the post, outlining that it ‘violates Twitter rules about glorifying violence’, though it may be in the public interest to remain accessible. The tweet has also been hidden on news feeds and can be viewed by clicking into it.
Trump wrote: ‘These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!’
After attaching the warning to his tweet, Twitter wrote on its official communications account:
This Tweet violates our policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today.
We’ve taken action in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts, but have kept the Tweet on Twitter because it is important that the public still be able to see the Tweet given its relevance to ongoing matters of public importance.
Subsequent to the label, Twitter has also put social restrictions on Trump’s tweet, meaning people can only retweet with comment. Replies, standard retweets and likes are entirely restricted.
It comes shortly after the president signed an executive order against Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies in a move to protect America’s free speech from their ‘unchecked power’.
Earlier this week, Trump’s wild political Twitter antics were reprimanded by the platform when two of his tweets, pertaining to ‘substantially fraudulent’ mail-in ballots, were annotated as promoting misinformation.
Days later, the president responded not with a tweet, but by ordering new regulations under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects social media companies from liability for users’ claims and comments on their sites. ‘We can’t let this continue to happen, it’s very, very unfair,’ Trump said.
The executive order will reportedly task the Federal Communications Commission with reviewing whether ‘deceptive’ action taken by companies on user content – such as censuring, editing or removing – forfeits their right to protection under the act.
Prior to signing the order in the Oval Office, Trump said, as per the New York Post:
We’re here today to defend free speech from one of the greatest dangers it has faced in American history. A small handful of powerful social media monopolies had unchecked power to censure, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter virtually any form of communication between private citizens or large public audiences.
This censorship and bias is a threat to freedom itself. Imagine if your phone company silenced or edited your conversation. Social media companies have vastly more power in the US than newspapers, they’re by far more rich than any other traditional forms of communication.
The president claimed that Twitter controls a large ‘sphere of human interaction’ by editorialising its tweets, saying the company enjoys ‘an unprecedented liability shield based on the theory that they are a neutral platform – which they are not’.
Trump also alleged that he had been called by Democrats ‘that want to do this and so I think you could possibly have a bipartisan situation’. ‘As President, I’m not allowing the American people to be bullied by these giant corporations. Many people have wanted this to be done by presidents for a long time,’ he added.
Attorney General William Barr echoed Trump’s sentiments, saying that Section 230 has been ‘completely stretched to allow it to become really behemoths who control a lot of the flow of information in our society to engage in censorship of that information and to act as editors and publishers of the material’.
Trump has yet to respond following Twitter’s recent warning notice on his tweet.
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New York Post
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