Facebook has done nothing with a Trump post that threatens shooting Minneapolis protesters even as Twitter hides it for 'glorifying violence'by Ben Gilbert
- On Monday, a 46-year-old black man named George Floyd died in Minneapolis after a white police officer pinned him to the ground by the neck for several minutes during an arrest.
- Following Floyd's death, protesters took to the streets and have continued protesting throughout the week. On Thursday night, a Minneapolis police station was set ablaze by protesters.
- In a social media post on Friday morning, President Trump channeled a 1960s police chief whose harsh policing sparked riots in Miami. "When the looting starts, the shooting starts," Trump tweeted, and referred to the protesters as "thugs."
- Trump posted the same message to his Twitter account and his Facebook account, but only one of the two services flagged his threat of violence as a violation of rules regarding user conduct: Twitter.
- A note that reads "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence" is attached to Trump's message, and users must click through the warning to view what the tweet said.
- Facebook has done nothing with the same message posted to its service.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
On May 25, a 46-year-old black man named George Floyd was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis.
A video of the officer with his knee pinned to Floyd's neck for several minutes was widely circulated, which captures Floyd pleading for his life before becoming unresponsive. "Please, please, please, I can't breathe," he says in the video. "Don't kill me."
Floyd died later that evening in medical care.
His death has sparked protests across the United States, particularly in Minneapolis where Floyd died. Those protests have become increasingly violent, and on Thursday night a Minneapolis police precinct was set ablaze by protesters.
In a series of messages published to his social media platforms, President Trump decried the protesters as "THUGS" and threatened violent retaliation.
"When the looting starts, the shooting starts," Trump said on Twitter and Facebook, a direct quote of a notoriously harsh Miami police chief who invoked the phrase against black Americans during the race riots of the late 1960s.
Since Trump posted his messages to social media platforms, which have their own rules of conduct on free speech, his message was flagged by Twitter for "glorifying violence." In order to see the tweet, you must click through a warning that explicitly says the message violates Twitter's usage 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."
Trump's identical message posted to Facebook remains untouched — despite violating Facebook's Community Standards for conduct.
Specifically, Facebook's rules regarding "violence and criminal behavior," which state:
"While we understand that people commonly express disdain or disagreement by threatening or calling for violence in non-serious ways, we remove language that incites or facilitates serious violence. We remove content, disable accounts, and work with law enforcement when we believe there is a genuine risk of physical harm or direct threats to public safety. We also try to consider the language and context in order to distinguish casual statements from content that constitutes a credible threat to public or personal safety. In determining whether a threat is credible, we may also consider additional information like a person's public visibility and the risks to their physical safety."
Facebook representatives did not respond to a request for comment on this story, but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly argued in favor of exclusions to Facebook's Community Standards as they pertain to what he calls "political speech."
As recently as this week, Zuckerberg has argued against Facebook curtailing speech from politicians — even if that speech is in direct violation of Facebook's own rules.
"We have a different policy than Twitter on this," Zuckerberg told Fox News' Dana Perino on Wednesday.
"I believe strongly that Facebook shouldn't be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online. I think in general, private companies shouldn't be, especially these platform companies, shouldn't be in the position of doing that," Zuckerberg said.