Twitter has placed a warning label on a tweet posted by President Trump that seemed to call for violence in retaliation against protestors in Minneapolis if looting continued.
The decision is the latest riposte against Trump by the social media platform, which earlier this week placed a fact-checking label on a tweet about mail-in ballots. In response, Trump signed an executive order calling for a review of legal protections for speech afforded platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
The latest step by Twitter is even more severe. It hides the original tweet under a warning label. Users can click the label to see the tweet, but they cannot like it or retweet it.
“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,” read a tweet from Twitter’s public relations team.
The killing of a George Floyd, an African-American man, this week by Minneapolis police has sparked widespread protests in that city which have also include scenes of people storming stores and seizing items. Some businesses have also been burned, and protestors took control of a police precinct and set it on fire.
While city leaders have called for calm and a return to peaceful protest, Trump took a more incendiary tone by threatening to send in the National Guard. Then, he added, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
….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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2020
Many people noted that the phrase seemed to reference a former Miami police chief who used strong-arm tactics against minority protestors in the 60s. That proved to be enough for Twitter to take action.
This Tweet violates our 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. https://t.co/sl4wupRfNH
— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) May 29, 2020
The label now looks like this: