The Empire Strikes Back: Twitter Flags Trump's Tweet on Minneapolis for ‘Glorifying Violence’
On Thursday evening, Donald Trump signed an executive order that could open the door for federal regulators to fine online platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google, for censoring online content. The move came after Twitter on Tuesday flagged tweets on mail-in ballots published by the president for potentially misleading information.
The social media network Twitter has slapped a “public interest notice” on a tweet from President Donald Trump, saying it violated its rules concerning the glorification 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.
The social network also said that one of Donald Trump's tweets on Minneapolis protests had breached its rules about "glorifying violence."
"The decision was made jointly by teams within Twitter, and our CEO Jack Dorsey was informed of the plan before the Tweet was labelled," a spokeswoman for the company said.
"...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!" Trump's tweet read.
While speaking to reporters on Thursday evening, Trump stated that he would shut down Twitter if it were legal. The president added that a new executive order, which he signed on Thursday, was to limit the “unchecked power” that social media platforms have had to restrict or censor views.
"There is no precedent in American history for so small a number of corporations to control so large a sphere of human interaction", Trump said. "Currently social media giants like Twitter receive an unprecedented liability shield based on the theory that they are a neutral platform, which they are not, not an editor with a view point."
Twitter, in turn, took to its account on late Thursday, claiming that the order infringes on freedom of speech on the Internet.
Trump took to the micro-blogging platform on Wednesday to share his concerns about mail-in voting that, according to him, would potentially lead to fraud in the November election. Shortly thereafter, Twitter placed warning labels saying "Get the facts about mail-in ballots" on his tweets, which led to a curated page with links and summaries of articles of mostly liberal-leaning newspapers, describing how Trump's claims on mail-in ballots are unfounded.
Earlier, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey justified the platform’s decision to fact-check Trump’s comments on Tuesday, saying that the president may have made people believe that they do not need to register in order to vote.