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Twitter deletes Trump tweets amid violent Capitol Hill riots

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 06 January 2021 23:57 GMT
Trump tells mob to 'go home' but makes false claims about ‘stolen’ election
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Twitter has deleted two tweets from Donald Trump about the violence in Washington.

While both posts instructed rioters to go home, they also seemed to endorse both the false claims about the election they had been pushing, as well as praising them as people.

The first of the tweets was a video – already removed by Facebook and YouTube, and censured by Twitter – in which Mr Trump falsely claimed to have won the election. He also said that he “loved” the rioters, and called them “very special”.

The second once again urged rioters to go home but called them “great patriots” who had been “badly and unfairly treated for so long”. He then urged his followers to “remember this day forever!”

Both posts had already been labelled with a message that said the “claim of election fraud is disputed", and explained that it could not be shared or replied to “due to a risk of violence”.

But later on Twitter appeared to take the decision to remove both of those tweets. Mr Trump’s page now just shows a message that reads “this tweet is unavailable”, and sends users to Twitter’s help centre; on that page, it explains that such a message would usually show if the tweet had since been removed.

Twitter did not take action on other tweets Mr Trump had posted throughout the day, including those that had been accused of helping incite the violence in Washington, DC.

The deletions by Twitter came as many commentators suggested that the site should remove or temporarily ban Mr Trump from using the account in the wake of the riots.

“If you do not suspend Donald Trump’s Twitter account for the next day at least, this mob attack on Congress is also on you," veteran technology journalist Kara Swisher wrote in a series of posts directed at senior Twitter staff. "Sorry, but he has incited violence for days, using your tools in large part and you need to act now.”

Twitter had previously said that it was watching the events at the Capitol Building and that it was considering further action.

“In regard to the ongoing situation in Washington, D.C., we are working proactively to protect the health of the public conversation occurring on the service and will take action on any content that violates the Twitter Rules,” the company wrote in a series of posts from its 'safety’ account.

"Threats of and calls to violence are against the Twitter Rules, and we are enforcing our policies accordingly.

"In addition, we have been significantly restricting engagement with Tweets labeled under our Civic Integrity Policy due to the risk of violence. This means these labeled Tweets will not be able to be replied to, Retweeted, or liked.

"We are also exploring other escalated enforcement actions and will keep the public updated with any significant developments."

Twitter’s rules explicitly prohibit the “glorification of violence” and those who break that rule can be removed from the site.

The company has repeatedly said that Mr Trump is given special dispensation from at least some of its rules because of his status as an elected official and the fact his account is newsworthy. It has suggested that he could lose those protections when he leaves office, and that his account may be removed.

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