Twitter flags tweet by Trump as 'glorifying violence' as protests rage in Minneapolis

©Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

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Twitter has tagged a tweet by President Donald Trump as a violation of its rules “about glorifying violence” after he threatened a harsh crackdown on protests in Minneapolis, warning that “any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

The move by the social-media giant is sure to inflame the growing hostility between the White House and Twitter, hitherto Trump’s favored mode of communication. After the company began flagging some of his tweets as misleading earlier this week, Trump signed an executive order Thursday aimed at limiting the immunity of some digital media companies over the content on their platforms.

In the same tweet about the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis, Trump denounced some of the demonstrators as “THUGS.” Twitter allowed the post to remain up “in the public’s interest” but blocked users from responding to it.

Floyd, who was black, died Monday after a white police officer was videotaped kneeling on his neck for several minutes. The incident has sparked outrage and protests across the U.S., including in Minneapolis itself, where demonstrators late Thursday overran and set fire to a police station near the spot where Floyd, 46, was pinned down.

Some stores have been looted, other buildings have been set ablaze and protesters have fired guns into the air. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has called in the National Guard.

Trump’s post about the demonstrations was his third to be flagged by Twitter, which slapped two fact-check warnings on his tweets castigating the use of mail-in ballots.

He took particular aim at California and at Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to send mail-in ballots to all voters. Trump falsely claimed that the state distributed ballots to non-citizens and, without proof, alleged that people would print and mail in fake ballots “by the hundreds of thousands.”

Whether Trump’s executive order will have any teeth is unclear, though it could increase pressure on Twitter, Facebook, Google and other Silicon Valley companies by opening the door to lawsuits and regulatory reviews.

In another tweet on the Minneapolis protests, Trump attacked the leadership of the “very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey” and admonished him to “get his act together and bring the City under control.”

That earned a derisive retort from Frey, who told reporters: “Donald Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis. … Weakness is refusing to take responsibility for your own actions. Weakness is about pointing your finger at somebody else during a time of crisis.”

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©2020 Star Tribune (Minneapolis)