Twitter conceals Trump tweet, ramping up dispute

The president had tweeted that the military was being sent in to the embattled midwestern city as authorities there struggle to control unrest. (File/AFP)
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Updated 29 May 2020

Twitter conceals Trump tweet, ramping up dispute

  • The president had tweeted that the military was being sent in to the embattled midwestern city
  • Twitter said it was placing a “public interest notice” on a Trump tweet about violent protests in Minneapolis

WASHINGTON: Twitter concealed one of Donald Trump’s tweets on Friday for “glorifying violence,” ramping up a dispute with the US president who says social media companies censor conservative voices like his.
In a move bound to infuriate one of the platform’s most followed users, Twitter said it was placing a “public interest notice” on a Trump tweet about violent protests in Minneapolis over the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of the police.
In a late night tweet, Trump wrote: “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!“
Hours later, the micro-messaging platform hid the tweet behind a message that said it “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.”
“As is standard with this notice, engagements with the Tweet will be limited. People will be able to Retweet with Comment, but will not be able to Like, Reply or Retweet it.”
Users could still click through and view the full unedited tweet.
Trump, who has more than 80 million followers on Twitter, lashed out at the platform on Thursday, signing an executive order seeking to strip social media giants of legal immunity for content on their platforms.
The order calls on government regulators to evaluate if online platforms should be eligible for liability protection for content posted by their millions of users.
The move, which was slammed by critics as a legally dubious act of political revenge, came after Twitter labelled two earlier Trump tweets — on the increasingly contentious topic of mail-in voting — as misleading.
If enforced, the action would upend decades of precedent and treat Internet platforms as “publishers” potentially liable for user-generated content.
Trump told reporters at the White House he acted because big tech firms “have had unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter any form of communication between private citizens or large public audiences.”
“We can’t let this continue to happen,” Trump said.

Critics said however Trump has no authority to regulate private Internet operators or change the law, known as Section 230, which backers say has allowed online platforms like Facebook and Twitter to flourish.
The American Civil Liberties Union called Trump’s order “a blatant and unconstitutional threat to punish social media companies that displease the president.”
Eric Goldman, director of the High-Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University, said the order was “more about political theater than about changing the law.”
The order “is not legally supportable — it flies in the face of more than 900 court decisions,” Goldman said.
The White House seeks to sidestep the provisions giving Internet firms immunity by treating them as publishers operating in part of a “public square.”
“Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube wield immense, if not unprecedented, power to shape the interpretation of public events; to censor, delete, or disappear information; and to control what people see or do not see,” the executive order said.
While the Trump order would not prevent platforms from moderating content, it could open them up to a flood of lawsuits from anyone who claims to be harmed by content posted online.
Critics said the action represents a dangerous effort by the government to regulate online speech.
“Social media can be frustrating. But an Executive Order that would turn the FCC into the President’s speech police is not the answer,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic member of Federal Communications Commission, one of the agencies tasked with enforcing the executive order.
Matt Schruers, president of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, a trade group, warned that “retaliation against the private sector for fact-checking leadership is what we expect from foreign autocracies, not the United States.”
Internet firms have denied Trump’s claims of bias, and point to his massive social media following. But the president’s move plays into his narrative ahead of his difficult November reelection battle that liberal forces are trying to censor Republicans.
A wider debate has long been underway on the power that social media companies wield and what responsibility they bear for posts that are misleading or hurtful.
Internet services like Twitter and Facebook have been struggling to root out misinformation, while at the same time keeping their platforms open to users.
After long resisting calls to censure Trump over his frequent factually inaccurate posts, Twitter on Tuesday flagged the president for the first time for making false claims.
Trump had tweeted — without any evidence — that more mail-in voting would lead to what he called a “Rigged Election” this November.


Social media reveals how people feel about reopening UAE

Updated 02 July 2020

Social media reveals how people feel about reopening UAE

  • Posts by official bodies such as the Abu Dhabi and Dubai media offices gained high amounts of traction and were widely shared
  • The influence of the media was likewise high in terms of distributing news and updates

DUBAI: The easing of COVID-19 restrictions across the UAE has by and large been welcomed by the public despite lingering concerns about safety, analysis of social media posts in relation to official announcements shows. 
The study, conducted by analytics and technology consultancy Anavizio, captured 8,000 social media posts from May 24 to June 21, including updates by local and federal UAE authorities as well as the media, along with social media users’ reaction to these.
Detailed analysis of a random sample of user posts and comments show 22 percent expressing happiness about the initial reopening of businesses, restaurants, beaches and hotels in late May and early June.


However, 15 percent of users questioned whether the easing of restrictions was coming too early, while 10 percent expressed concerns about the resumption of specific activities such as the reopening of gyms.
Public attitudes evolved during the four weeks covered by the study, with 17 percent of users expressing increased confidence in visiting beaches and restaurants during the latter part of the research period. Nevertheless, concerns remained around public safety and the state of the economy.
Posts by official bodies such as the Abu Dhabi and Dubai media offices gained high amounts of traction and were widely shared, while Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai and chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, proved to be a major voice amplifying government messages. The influence of the media was likewise high in terms of distributing news and updates.