US President Donald Trump recently posted about the US city of Minneapolis, which has seen consecutive nights of protests following the death of a black man in police custody. That black man was George Floyd.
The president said he would “send in the National Guard”, and followed that up with a warning that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
That second tweet was hidden by Twitter for “glorifying violence”.
“We’ve taken action in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts, but have kept the tweet on Twitter because it is important that the public still be able to see the tweet given its relevance to ongoing matters of public importance,” said a statement from Twitter.
The action prohibits other users to like, reply to, or simply retweet Trump’s post, Twitter said. However, they would still be able to retweet it with a comment attached.
In a Twitter thread, the social network said: ” This tweet violates our policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today.”
The “historical context” is a reference to the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”, coined by Miami Police Chief Walter Headley in 1967, in reference to his aggressive policing policies in black neighbourhoods.
Hours after the warning was added, President Trump tweeted: “Twitter is doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party” and alleged that the social network was targeting Republicans.
On Friday, the president sought to clear up the tweets by saying he was misunderstood.
“Looting leads to shooting, and that’s why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night – or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot,” he tweeted.
Seven people were shot in Louisville, Kentucky, at a protest over the death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot by three white police officers in March.
“I don’t want this to happen, and that’s what the expression put out last night means,” the POTUS wrote.