Twitter hid on Tuesday (23.06.2020) a new tweet from US President Donald Trump because he felt he «breached» the rules of the social network regarding «abusive behavior» by threatening to use force against protesters in the federal capital.
The San Francisco-based company, which already labeled Trump’s comments last month as deceptive and promoting violence, determined that Trump’s tweet «may be in the public interest,» allowing the president’s supporters to read it by clicking on the text that covers it.
«There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington DC as long as I’m president. If they try, they will face a great force!» the president wrote, amid for weeks-wide protests across the country against police brutality and racism.
Trump tweeted the police-free zone recently created by protesters in Seattle, which has provoked outrage among conservatives. Prior to that tweet, Trump had announced arrests and up to 10 years in prison to those who vandalized any federal property, after Monday night activists tried to top down the statue of a 19th-century slave president near the White House.
Twitter’s decision to hide another Tweet from Trump intensifies a battle between the White House and companies that offer social media services, which Trump has accused of biasing conservative politicians.
Decree to limit social media freedom
The U.S. president, who has 82.4 million followers on Twitter and uses that network intensively daily, signed a decree in late May to limit the freedom of social media to decide on its contents.
The Trump administration has also noted that it wants to reform a law that grants immunity to internet service providers over content posted by others, a move that can lead to many litigation. Twitter told the AFP Tuesday that it took action with Trump’s tweet because it violated the company’s policy with «a threat of harm against an identifiable group.»
Twitter’s policy towards world leaders in most cases requires tagging messages that violate social media standards, limiting its reach and preventing others from branding that they like or retw poll. But it leaves the tweets available in case they relate to «current issues of public importance.»
In late May, Twitter hid a Tweet from Trump about the protests following the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of white cops on the grounds that he was «apology for violence.»
A few days earlier, Twitter had flagged two of the president’s tweets about mail voting labeled «Verify data.» A spokesman for the platform then noted that they contained «potentially misleading information about the voting process.»