Twitter placed a “glorifying violence” disclaimer Friday morning over a tweet in which President Trump referred to those protesting police brutality in Minnesota as “THUGS,” before concluding, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Users must click through the disclaimer to view the text of the tweet, and the liking, retweeting, and commenting functions have been disabled (users are still able to “retweet with comment”).
Here’s how the tweet appears in users’ feeds:
Here is what is revealed after clicking through:
“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,” Twitter wrote in explaining the decision. “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.”
In response to Twitter’s decision, The White House retweeted a May 22nd post linked to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, adding, “This Tweet violated the Twitter rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it will allow terrorists, dictators, and foreign propagandists to abuse its platform.”
This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, @Twitter has determined that it will allow terrorists, dictators, and foreign propagandists to abuse its platform. pic.twitter.com/5Qi0m66Vnh
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 29, 2020
This is the first time Twitter has flagged a tweet from the president as sensitive content, despite repeated violations of the company’s rules against targeted harassment, promoting hate, and more. The disclaimer comes three days after Twitter added a fact-check option to some of Trump’s false tweets about mail-in voting, prompting the president to lash out against his preferred social media network and accuse it of silencing conservative voices. On Wednesday, Trump threatened to “close down” the platform, and a day later signed an executive order aimed at bolstering the government’s ability to regulate social media sites. The order targets Section 230, a law that protects tech companies from libel over the content published on their platforms.
Trump continued to attack Twitter throughout the morning on Friday.
Twitter is doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party. They have targeted Republicans, Conservatives & the President of the United States. Section 230 should be revoked by Congress. Until then, it will be regulated!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2020
In addition to inciting violence, the tweet is also one of Trump’s most racist. In 2017, the president famously described white supremacists marching on Charlottesville, Virginia, with torches as “very fine people,” but he has never shown such deference to predominantly African American protests. In Minnesota, those protesting the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police are “THUGS” subject to “shooting” by the military.
Last month, Trump endorsed those protesting for the economy to reopen in several states across the country. “LIBERATE MINNESOTA,” the president wrote.
Update: On Friday afternoon, Trump, as he often does when called out for saying or doing horrible things, proclaimed his innocence, tweeting that he was merely… ah nevermind. You, dear reader, can go find it for yourself if you feel like being lied to. But if you want to spend your time learning about the systemic racism that’s claiming lives, here’s a piece on the racist history of the phrase “when the shooting starts, the looting starts.”