Trump’s Order Against Twitter for Hiding His Tweet May Change Social Media Landscape

“When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Trump wrote, apparently quoting the former Miami police chief Walter Headley, who in December 1967 promised violent reprisals to protests over stop-and-frisk tactics. Trump’s message on Twitter came during a night of protests and looting in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd, a black man, after he was pinned to the ground for several minutes by a white police officer.

The US president’s tweet, posted on Thursday night Washington time, warned people in Minneapolis protesting against the killing of a black man, George Floyd, by a white police officer that he would send the military to intervene if there was “any difficulty”.

Two hours later, Twitter added a notice to the tweet: “This tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the tweet to remain accessible.” Rather than deleting the messages, Twitter replaced them with warnings which prevents anyone seeing the tweets unless they click on them.

 

The official White House Twitter account retweeted the language from the president’s hidden post. Twitter placed a warning message on that post, as well. Trump responded Friday, saying Twitter was doing “nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party.”

Dan Scavino, a top White House aide who helps manage Trump’s Twitter account, lashed out against the social media company using an expletive.

“Twitter is targeting the president of the United States 24/7, while turning their heads to protest organizers who are planning, plotting, and communicating their next moves daily on this very platform,” Scavino tweeted. “Twitter is full of [s***] — more and more people are beginning to get it.”

 

 

The move is the latest in a furious row between Trump and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, which led to the President signing an executive order to strip social media companies of their ‘liability shield’.

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order threatening penalties against social-media companies over allegations of bias against conservatives. According to the order, Trump is primarily seeking to empower federal regulators to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives social-media companies broad authority to moderate speech on their platforms. Section 230 also stipulates that tech companies are not responsible for comments and other content that users post on their platforms.

Trump’s order called for tech companies to lose their Section 230 protection if they do anything to discriminate against users, restrict their access to a platform without giving them a fair hearing, or take other action that isn’t in line with the terms of service. The executive order said that within 60 days of its signing, the Secretary of Commerce should file a petition for rulemaking within the Federal Communications Commission for regulations that clarify the scope of Section 230. It also said the head of each executive department and agency should review federal spending on advertising and marketing paid to online platforms. Trump, meanwhile, accused the social-media platform of “interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election” and said he wouldn’t allow Twitter to stifle free speech. Trump teased the executive order again in a tweet later that day, writing, “Big Tech is doing everything in their very considerable power to CENSOR in advance of the 2020 Election. If that happens, we no longer have our freedom. Despite the president’s threats, however, First Amendment experts say he does not have the power to regulate or shut down social-media companies because he disagrees with them. Tech policy experts echoed that assessment, said that parts of the executive order are not legal at all, while other sections would require agencies to throw out years of judicial precedent.

Following the death of George Floyd in police custody on May 25, 2020, protests and riots have erupted in the U.S. state of Minnesota, where the death occurred, beginning on May 26. The majority of these have occurred in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, and have inspired similar protests and riots in the United States and other countries.

Protesters are demanding all four officers involved be charged in Floyd’s death. So far, only one – white officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as the Black man pleaded, “I can’t breathe” – has been arrested and charged on Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Those protesting against police brutality have been met with, at times, excessive force by authorities. Two officers were fired over the weekend in Atlanta, Georgia, for pulling two Black people out of a car and throwing them to the ground. Videos have shown police targeting angry but peaceful protesters with tear gas and mace. Journalists have also been targeted by police. Protesters have remained undeterred by curfews and the presence of the US National Guard in some cities. Some largely peaceful protests turned violent, with looting and vandalism as the night raged on.

Protests erupted in multiple states on Tuesday following Floyd’s death on Memorial Day and continued through Thursday, with thousands of people gathering to protest against police brutality after Floyd’s death, who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes while detaining him. Though some protests have remained peaceful, there have been incidents of destruction of property — including a Minneapolis police precinct being set on fire — and instances of looting in stores like Target. Late Thursday night, seven people were injured after shots were fired amid the protests in Louisville, Kentucky, demanding justice for Breona Taylor, an African American woman who was shot eight times in her Louisville apartment after officers entered on a “no-knock warrant.”

 

Wisha Adnan
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