Twitter placed a warning on a post by President Trump that seemed to imply Minneapolis protesters should be shot, saying it was "glorifying violence" as tensions escalated over the in-custody death of George Floyd.
On Friday, Trump tweeted in response to rioting in the city, "These THUGS are dishonoring 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!"
The shooting comment repeated an infamous 1967 quote from then-Miami Police Chief Walter Headley, who promised to crack down on black protesters during civil rights demonstrations.
Trump's post came hours after he signed an executive order Thursday trying to strip Twitter of liability protections as he continues to rage against the social media company.
Firms such as Twitter have “unchecked power” to restrict speech, Trump said, adding, “we're fed up with it.”
Legal experts quickly weighed in, saying the order would have little immediate effect because it was sure to be tied up in lengthy court battles.
“This executive order is a half-baked effort that will have few legal effects, but it could chill free expression online and threaten the open internet,” said Justin Brookman, director of consumer privacy and technology policy for Consumer Reports. "A fact check by Twitter is an editorial decision protected by the First Amendment,” his statement said.
Twitter had angered Trump earlier in the week by placing fact-checking warnings on two of his posts asserting mail-in voting was rife with fraud.
The warning links were affixed to the end of Trump's posts and urged readers to “get the facts” about mail voting. They led to a CNN story saying the president's allegations were not substantiated and to a list assembled by Twitter debunking his claims.
The president's "shooting" post was blasted online, with politicians, celebrities and civil rights advocates decrying his statement.
But the White House doubled down, adding the tweet to its official site, where it also received a Twitter warning.
Dan Scavino, the president’s deputy chief of staff, joined the fray, saying Twitter should target Minneapolis protesters, and using an expletive to describe the company.
“Twitter is targeting the President of the United States 24/7, while turning their heads to protest organizers who are planning, plotting, and communicating their next moves daily on this very platform,” he wrote. “Twitter is full of s*** — more and more people are beginning to get it.”