Technology

White House, Trump accounts both get Twitter rulebreaker warning

Enlarge / The twitter page of US President Donald Trump is displayed on a mobile phone in Vaasa, Finland, on May 29, 2020. Oliver Morin | AFP | Getty Images

Twitter is once again facing the ire of its most famous user, President Donald Trump, after putting a warning label on one of Trump's tweets signaling that it breaks the service rules against glorifying violence.

Speaking about the unrest in Minneapolis, Trump tweeted, "These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I wont 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!"

Twitter does not generally delete Tweets posted by newsworthy figures. Instead, it puts a warning on the message indicating that it violates site rules but remains live due to potential public interest. Twitter's communication's team posted a notice that it was placing the public interest exemption label on Trump's tweet, explaining that, "based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today, the message fell afoul of the site's explicit policy prohibiting the glorification of violence.

The last line of the tweet—"When the looting starts, the shooting starts"—is attributed to Miami Mayor Walter Headley, who said it in 1967 at a press conference addressing racial tension and protests in Miami at the height of the US civil rights movement.

This is the second time this week Twitter has acted to signal a presidential tweet might be dangerous or against the company's rules. The first time, on Tuesday, it placed a fact-checking message on a Trump tweet falsely claiming that vote-by-mail policies—poised to expand in the wake of the novel coronavirus—would necessarily lead to a "rigged election."

The president handled Twitter's warning today with the exact amount of aplomb and grace you would by now expect, first live-tweeting along with a Fox News segment discussing the label before ending the morning's thread by shouting, "CHINA!" apropos of nothing.

(For what it's worth, Twitter has, in fact, also begun putting fact-check labels on tweets from Chinese officials that contain false information. Two messages posted by a spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry that alleged the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 originated in the US, rather than Wuhan, Read More – Source

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