Social media platform, Twitter, on Friday flagged US President Donald Trump’s tweet about the protests and violence in Minneapolis, Minnesota for “glorifying violence,” leading to a response from the American White House.
Trump had tweeted about the protests which followed the death of a black man, George Floyd who was filmed saying he could not breathe as a white police officer used his knee to pin him down.
“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” Trump had 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!”
….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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2020
According to Twitter, the company flagged the tweet in what it tagged a “public interest notice.”
The implication is that the tweet will not be taken out of the social media platform but hidden under a notice reading: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence.”
Twitter, has, however, said, “As is standard with this notice, engagements with the Tweet will be limited. People will be able to Retweet with Comment, but will not be able to Like, Reply or Retweet it.”
In response, the official White House account called Twitter’s bluff by retweeting the same post. This time, Twitter responded by saying that while it violated its rules, the company “determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”
The White House later defended Trump’s tweet, saying, “The President did not glorify violence. He clearly condemned it.”
And Trump’s social media director and Twitter feed manager, Dan Scavino, had his own response.
“Twitter is full of shit — more and more people are beginning to get it,” he wrote on Twitter.
The latest spat came a day after Trump signed an executive order in the Oval Office seeking to transform the way social media companies are regulated. That followed Trump’s fury over Twitter tagging two of his tweets with fact checks, which was also an unprecedented measure.
On Thursday, Trump had issued an executive order seeking to strip social media giants like Twitter of legal immunity for content posted by users.
If this was enacted, the likes of Twitter and Facebook would become open to lawsuits and greatly increased government regulation.
Trump — angered this week after Twitter tagged one of his tweets for the first time with a fact-check notice — said regulation was needed because the companies are no longer neutral forums but engaging in “political activism.”
According to Trump, such platforms have “unchecked power to censor, restrict… virtually any form of communication between private citizens.”
“We can’t let that happen,” he said, “especially when they go about doing what they’re doing because they’re doing things incorrectly, they have points of view.”