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caption: President Trump speaks before signing an executive order aimed at curbing protections for social media companies in the Oval Office on Thursday.
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President Trump speaks before signing an executive order aimed at curbing protections for social media companies in the Oval Office on Thursday.
Credit: AP

Twitter Hides Trump's Tweet About Minneapolis, Saying It Glorifies Violence

President Trump said he will "send in the National Guard" to restore order to Minneapolis, which has been wracked by protests and looting following the death of George Floyd, a black man, after he was pinned to the ground for several minutes by a white police officer. "When the looting starts, the shooting starts," Trump said, prompting Twitter to hide the message for, in its view, "glorifying violence."

"I can't stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis," Trump said early Friday. "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 & get the job done right."

He added: "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!"

Twitter hid the second of those messages with a warning but added that it "has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."

Trump responded Friday, saying Twitter was doing "nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party."

The president's tweets about the situation in Minneapolis and Twitter's response to it bring to a head two major stories that have dominated the news this week.

In the first, a white officer appears to shove Floyd's face into the pavement with his knee for at least seven minutes on Monday evening. Several minutes into the video, Floyd's pleas for help go quiet. Floyd was reported dead later that night. The Minneapolis Police Department swiftly fired the four police officers shown in the disturbing video. The U.S. Justice Department said it has made the investigation into Floyd's death "a top priority." But protesters weren't placated. The 3rd Precinct police building in Minneapolis was set on fire Thursday night. Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order activating the Minnesota National Guard to help restore peace.

In the second story, Twitter fact-checked a tweet by Trump that said mail-in voting leads to fraud, prompting the president to sign an executive order Thursday aimed at limiting the broad legal protections enjoyed by social media companies. But legal experts said they doubt the move would have any practical effect on the tech giants.

Prior to this week, Twitter had not fact-checked the president, nor hidden any of his messages on the platform. [Copyright 2020 NPR]