Twitter hides Trump tweet for ‘glorifying violence’
Twitter hid one of President Donald Trump’s tweets from his profile, saying it violates the rules on glorifying violence.
But instead of being deleted, it has been replaced with an alert and can be viewed by clicking on it.
The warning says “Twitter has established that it may be in the public interest that the Tweet remains accessible.”
It is the latest on a growing scale between Twitter and the White House.
Trump was tweeting about the American city of Minneapolis, which saw consecutive nights of protests following the death of a black man in police custody.
The president said he would “send the National Guard”, and followed him with a warning that “when looting begins, filming begins.”
That second tweet was hidden from Twitter to “glorify violence”.
Twitter’s policy of adding a warning, rather than eliminating, tweets that break its rules when it comes to important public figures was announced in mid-2019. But the social network has never used it on Trump, nor has it ever deleted none of his tweets.
For years Twitter has resisted calls to treat Donald Trump like any other user and make him follow his rules. So on Wednesday, he made a first small move, not removing a tweet but adding a link for checking the facts.
The company therefore had two choices: crouch and resist the storm or continue to act according to the established rules. Now he has chosen the second course of action, calling on the President to urge the glorification of violence.
Any other user would have removed his tweet and could have suspended his account.
Now there seems to be no easy way out for either opponent: a huge battle looms over the limits of free speech and the rights of social media companies to moderate content.
The move means that other users will not be able to like, reply or retweet it, Twitter said, but would still be able to retweet it with an attached comment.
In a Twitter thread, the social network said: “This tweet violates our policies related to the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection with violence and the risk that could inspire similar actions today.”
The “historical context” is a reference to the late 1960s, when the phrase “when looting begins, filming begins” was coined by Miami chief of police, Walter Headley, in reference to his aggressive police policies in the black neighborhoods.
“We have taken steps in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts, but we have kept the tweet on Twitter because it is important that the public is still able to see it given its relevance for ongoing issues of public importance “.
Hours pass after President Trump signed an executive order to remove some of the legal protections provided to social media platforms.
Earlier this week, Twitter first used its fact-checking feature to attach notices to the president’s tweets. This led the President to threaten to “close” social networks for allegedly suffocating freedom of speech.
The executive order signed by Trump has no immediate effect on social networks, but instead begins a long process that can involve changes along the line.