Twitter flags Trump's tweet again for 'abusive behavior' as POTUS threatens protesters with 'serious force'
This is the third time in less than a month that the social media platform has put warnings on Trump's tweets
President Donald Trump's troubled relation with Twitter witnessed another high moment on Tuesday, June 23, when the social media giant flagged a post made by the former threatening protesters with "serious force" if they tried to set up an autonomous zone outside the White House. Twitter found the tweet "abusive" but added that the tweet will remain accessible in public interest. It also included a link to its rules and policies page titled 'About public-interest exceptions on Twitter'. This is the third time that Twitter has flagged Trump's tweets in less than a month.
In connection to the controversial post made by the president, a post by Twitter Safety stated: "We’ve placed a public interest notice on this Tweet for violating our policy against abusive behavior, specifically, the presence of a threat of harm against an identifiable group." Users could retweet Trump's post with comment but no longer like or reply to it, the microblogging site said.
Trump threatened the protesters after demonstrations on Monday (June 22) night when they tried to bring down a bronze statue of former president Andrew Jackson (1829-37) in Lafayette Square across the street from the president's official residence, the White House. The protesters also spray-painted "BHAZ" outside the White House to imply "Black House Autonomous Zone". Similar efforts have been made in Seattle over the past few weeks, leaving Trump fuming and he warned the protesters against trying the same in the capital. The US has been witnessing relentless protests in the wake of the killings of black Americans at the hands of the police, the recent cases being those of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks.
"There will never be an 'Autonomous Zone' in Washington, DC, as long as I’m your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!" Trump thundered in his tweet.
Soon after, the authorities cleared the area where chaos around the statue prevailed.
Twitter flagged Trump tweets more than once last month
In May, Twitter placed warnings on two of Trump's tweets about mail-in voting, which the president attacked saying that they contained "potentially misleading information about voting processes". Trump lashed out at the social media platform in reply and accused it of interfering in the 2020 presidential election. He even threatened to shut down Twitter, a media he uses often, and signed an executive order targeting the social media companies. He said the move was to "defend free speech from one of the gravest dangers it has faced in American history".
But Trump's reaction did not stop Twitter from continuing to flag his controversial takes. A day after the president signed the order on May 28, the social media platform flagged another of his tweets which was posted in relation to the protests against police brutality after the death of Floyd in Minneapolis in May. In his infamous "when looting starts, shooting starts" tweet, Trump said: "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." Though the tweet could still be viewed, Twitter said while flagging it: "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."
Trump's latest threat against the protesters was visible in another tweet in which he said: "I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the US with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act." On Tuesday, the commander-in-chief also told reporters at the White House that he was planning to sign another executive order to target the protesters trying to remove the statues. "They're not taking down our monuments. I will have an executive order very shortly and all it's going to really do is reinforce what's already there, but in a more uniform way," he said.
The police used pepper spray against the protesters in Washington DC as they tried to topple the statue while trying to set up the autonomous zone which is meant to be police-free. The BHAZ signs and the protesters were also removed. Two people were arrested, DC Police Chief Peter Newsham said. Earlier on June 22, the protesters shouted, "Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Andrew Jackson's got to go" as they threw ropes around the statue of the late president seated on a horse. Trump considers Jackson, who was known to be a slave-owner and oppressor of Native Americans, as his personal hero.