Twitter has slapped a “public interest notice” on a tweet from President Donald Trump, saying it violated its rules regarding the glorifying of violence.
“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,” the company said Friday morning.
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Trump’s tweet is now hidden behind a notice claiming it breached Twitter’s policies on “glorifying violence.” It can still be viewed and retweeted with a comment, but users cannot like, reply to, or retweet it.
— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) May 29, 2020
The post in question targets the protests in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd. In some specific areas, the protests have been overtaken by rioting and looting.
On the third night of the protests late Thursday, the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct, the base of the four officers fired following Floyd’s death in their custody, was set on fire. Multiple blazes have been seen on nearby blocks.
In two tweets, Trump threatened to bring in the National Guard to control the situation and used the phrase, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
“I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis,” he said on Twitter, blaming Mayor Jacob Frey for social unrest in the city.
″….These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” Trump tweeted. “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!”
Floyd died Monday after an officer knelt on the man’s neck during an arrest. He was seen on video telling officers “I can’t breathe.”
Twitter says it took issue with the “historical context” of the last line of the tweet it flagged Friday. Trump appeared to quote former Miami Police Chief Walter Headley, who in December 1967 used the phrase, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Headley was head of police during racially-charged protests and was known for using “stop and frisk” policies.
The White House’s official Twitter account later retweeted Trump’s first post with the content that was hidden by the microblogging site for violating its policies. It’s unclear whether Twitter intends to hide this tweet with a content warning as well. The company was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.
Trump has been upping the pressure on Twitter after the platform fact-checked misleading claims made by the president on mail-in voting. He signed an executive order on social media “censorship” Thursday, targeting companies granted liability protection through Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
The order could give give regulators the power to pursue action against platforms like Twitter and Facebook, holding them responsible for content posted by their users.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was informed of the decision to label Trump’s tweet in advance, a spokeswoman for the company told CNBC. To be clear, Dorsey has stated before that he is the one who is “ultimately accountable for our actions as a company.”
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