Twitter has disabled users’ abilities to like, retweet, or reply to one of President Trump’s tweets addressing the riots in Minneapolis, and falsely accused his tweet of “glorifying violence,” as reported by the New York Post.
The tweet in question was the second of a two-part message, following up on his first tweet in which he said that “I can’t stand back and watch this happen to a great American city, Minneapolis,” in reference to the race riots that have torn apart the city in the last two days. President Trump added that if Mayor Jacob Frey (D-Minn.) doesn’t “get his act together,” Trump will “send in the National Guard and get the job done right.”
The second tweet labels the rioters as “thugs,” who are “dishonoring the memory of George Floyd,” and ends by declaring that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
It was to this tweet that Twitter attached a warning reading “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.” Twitter’s Communications account expanded on their decision in a separate tweet, claiming that “the historical context of the last line” could inspire others to commit violence.” As a result of the warning, users can only see the president’s tweet if they click the “view” button; even after doing so, the abilities to like, reply to, or retweet the original tweet are disabled. The only available option is to “retweet with comment.”
The stunning move comes a day after President Trump signed a sweeping executive order that directed numerous federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission to look into acts of censorship and bias by Big Tech companies, for the purpose of determining if any of them can or should lose their protection from legal liability under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.
The riots have been in response to the death of a black man named George Floyd while in police custody, with some claiming police brutality and others accusing the police of racism. After the first night of riots saw the destruction of numerous buildings by arson – including an AutoZone, a McDonald’s, and a seven-story housing development under construction – as well as the looting of a Target, the second night saw a violent mob storm and burn down a police precinct station, among other buildings.