Twitter hides Donald Trump and White House tweets for 'glorifying violence'

Michael Cogley
A tweet by President Donald Trump has been hidden from his profile after Twitter said it violated rules about glorifying violence  - Twitter/Twitter

Tweets by Donald Trump and the White House have been hidden by Twitter after the social network said they violated rules about glorifying violence.

Rather than deleting the messages, Twitter replaced them with warnings which prevents anyone seeing the tweets unless they click on them. 

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

“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence," the warnings read. "However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible." 

The president had tweeted that “thugs” were “dishonouring the memory” of 46-year old George Floyd who died on Monday.

The message was in reference to riots in Minneapolis that have broken out after the death of a black man in police custody.

The President’s comments, concluding with the words “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” incited a strong response from other Twitter users, but those replies have since been hidden or removed by the company.

The options to reply and like the tweet have also been disabled, while the retweet and quote-tweet functions have been left active.

Twitter added the same warning to a later post sent by the official White House account on Friday which copied the text of Trump's earlier message.

This White House tweet was also censored by Twitter - Twitter

The White House then posted an image of a tweet sent by Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran. "Twitter has determined that it will allow terrorists, dictators, and foreign propagandists to abuse its platform," the White House claimed.

It follows an executive order signed by Trump on Thursday aimed at removing some of the legal protections currently given to social media companies. 

The US president argued that the site had effective become an “editor” rather than a “neutral platform” by taking steps like adding fact-check links to tweets - as the company did with two of his messages this week. 

Mr Trump also said he would close down Twitter if he could do so legally and claimed he would quit the site in a “heartbeat” if he had fair newspaper coverage. 

The trigger for Mr Trump’s action came when Twitter put fact-checking labels next to two of the president’s tweets, allowing users to click for more information. 

The tweets were about postal ballots, which Mr Trump claimed were wide open to fraud and could lead to a rigged election. The fact-checking text from Twitter said there was little proof of widespread fraud.

Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Technology Association trade group, said Trump's executive order was “unconstitutional and ill-considered.”

“America’s internet companies lead the world and it is incredible that our own political leaders would seek to censor them for political purposes,” Shapiro said in a statement.

In a tweeted statement, Twitter called the executive order “a reactionary and politicised approach to a landmark law,” adding, “attempts to unilaterally erode it threaten the future of online speech and Internet freedoms.”

A Facebook spokesperson said exposing companies to liability would penalise those that allow controversial speech and “encourage platforms to censor anything that might offend anyone.”