Twitter has hidden a warning from US President Donald Trump to the Minnesota governor behind a censorship notice, as well as the tweet from the official White House account reposting the president’s message.
The social media platform warned that the president’s message to Democratic governor Tim Walz about sending in the National Guard “violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence.”
The tweet, posted from the @WhiteHouse account, repeated the content of an earlier tweet Trump had posted from his personal account (which was also covered by the censorship message about “glorifying violence”).
The White House account responded to the censorship by slamming Twitter’s “biased, bad-faith ‘fact-checkers’,” arguing that Trump had not glorified violence but condemned it. Hinting at further enforcement to be leveled against the social media behemoth, it observed that such censorship was the act of “a publisher, not a platform” – i.e. a site that doesn’t qualify for the protection from legal liability Twitter currently enjoys.
The President did not glorify violence. He clearly condemned it.@Jack and Twitter’s biased, bad-faith “fact-checkers” have made it clear: Twitter is a publisher, not a platform. https://t.co/lTm3Pxxaqg
Twitter replied with a statement explaining its enforcement decision was apparently triggered by “the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today.” The White House tweet, the platform said, was censored because it was “identical” to the original Trump post.
Twitter’s statement on its actions on the president’s tweet and the White House tweet 👇 pic.twitter.com/rL9jxoQnFd
Trump has threatened to take on Twitter and other social media platforms over their censorship of conservative voices, and his war on Big Tech arguably began on Thursday when he signed an executive order aimed at stripping the platforms of their Section 230 liability protection.
Riots have raged in Minneapolis for most of the week after a white police officer was seen in a widely-circulated Facebook video choking George Floyd, an unarmed black man already in handcuffs, to death by kneeling on his neck. While protests began peacefully on Monday, the situation soon escalated and police responded assailing the demonstrators with rubber bullets and tear gas. Local businesses have been looted and set on fire, while demonstrators seized and burned the city’s Third Police Precinct on Thursday after staging nightly attacks on the site.
While Governor Walz called in the National Guard on Thursday to “provide safety and protection to the people of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Surrounding Communities,” Trump and others have criticized his and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s apparent inability to restore peace to the city.
Some have speculated Trump’s intention was to lure Twitter into making unenforceable or clearly biased content-moderation decisions – i.e., that the president had set a trap for the censor-happy platform. Its promise not to interfere with the tweets of world leaders has already fallen by the wayside.
Unclear to me why Twitter walked straight into the trap that Trump laid for it. https://t.co/ru5W32jiLX
I see it didn’t take long for Twitter to fall right into his trap.🤦♂️ https://t.co/C7967nEFKQ
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