TWITTER HAS censored a tweet from Donald Trump amid concerned it was “glorifying violence”.
The President was tweeting in reaction to the riots taking place in the US following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed and handcuffed black man who was killed while in the custody of a white police officer.
With the unrest showing little signs of easing, Mr. Trump took to social media to warn rioters that the military would be sent in to “get the job done right” unless the situation calmed down, adding: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
The President tweeted: “…These THUGS are dishonouring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t 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!”
A message from Twitter subsequently appeared alongside the tweet stating: “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.’ It appears no one is able to reply to or like the tweet, but it is still visible to the public.”
— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) May 29, 2020
In a statement via a thread, Twitter wrote: “We have placed a public interest notice on this tweet from Donald Trump.
“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.
“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.
“As is standard with this notice, engagements with the tweet will be limited. People will be able to retweet with comment, but will not be able to like, reply or retweet it.”
Trump's tweet appeared to quote former Miami Police Chief Walter Headley, who in December 1967, famously said "when the looting starts, the shooting starts."
Headley was the police chief during racially charged protests that took place in Miami in 1967 and was infamous for his "stop and frisk" tactics.
Earlier this week, Mr Trump threatened to “shut down social media networks” after Twitter flagged several of his tweets with a fact-check warning.
The rioting and protests witnessed in the US over the past 24 hours was sparked by footage of Mr. Floyd struggling to breath on the ground while officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck.
— fae (@daisytulipz) May 28, 2020
He later died in police custody.
Four police officers have been fired in the wake of the incident.
Minneapolis, the city where Mr. Floyd was killed, has been the epicentre of rioting with officers in one police precinct forced to run from the building after a crowd broke it and set it ablaze.
Remarking on the ongoing rioting in a previous tweet, Trump said: “I can’t stand back and watch this happen to a great American city, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership.
“Either the very weak radical left Mayor Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the city under control, or I will send in the National Guard and get the job done right.”
The incident involving Mr. Floyd is being investigated by the FBI and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.