Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 25 October 2020

Twitter hides Donald Trump tweet over Minneapolis protests for 'glorifying violence'

US president threatened to send in military and start shooting after more arson and looting during protests over George Floyd death

Twitter on Friday hid a tweet by US President Donald Trump in which he threatened the use of firearms against protesters in Minneapolis, saying the post violated its rules about glorifying violence.

The move comes after Twitter tagged the president's tweets with fact-checking links earlier in the week, prompting Mr Trump to issue an executive order on Thursday that he said would curb legal protection for social media companies that attempt to censor comments.

US President Donald Trump has his tweet hidden by Twitter. 
US President Donald Trump has his tweet hidden by Twitter.

Mr Trump threatened to send in troops after protests over the police custody death of a black suspect in Minneapolis turned violent again on Thursday.

In a pair of early morning tweets on Friday, the president assailed the city’s mayor, Jacob Frey, as weak and said he had told Minnesota Governor Tim Walz that “the military is with him all the way”.

"Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts the shooting starts," Mr Trump wrote.

Twitter explained its action on its public communications account, saying it was taken "in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts".

However, the offending post was not blocked 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 president's dispute with Twitter erupted after the platform on Tuesday tagged his tweets claiming that mail-in ballots would lead to widespread fraud with a warning prompting readers to fact-check the posts.

Mr Trump responded by accusing social media platforms of censorship and anti-conservative bias and threatened action against them.

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey defended the company's action in a series of posts on Wednesday.

"We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally," Mr Dorsey said on Twitter.

"Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves."

On Thursday, President Trump signed an executive order that he said “calls for new regulations under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to make it that social media companies that engage in censoring or any political conduct will not be able to keep their liability shield".

“I’m signing an executive order to protect and uphold the free speech rights of the American people,” he said.

“Currently, social media giants like Twitter receive an unprecedented liability shield based on the theory that they’re a neutral platform, which they’re not.”

Updated: May 29, 2020 05:15 PM

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