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Twitter, Facebook remove Trump posts

June 6, 2020

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have all taken down a video tribute to George Floyd posted by the US president's campaign team. The clip was removed for infringing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

A person taking a smartphone video of Trump giving a speech
Image: picture alliance/dpa/R. Ellis

US President Donald Trump courted further controversy with his social media posts on Friday. This time with Twitter, Instagram and Facebook all disabled a video tribute to George Floyd over copyright issues.

Trump's campaign team posted a clip showing images and video footage of protest marches along with examples of violence in the aftermath of Floyd's death, with Trump speaking in the background.

As a result, a number of complaints were submitted and a Twitter representative said:  "We respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives."

Floyd was killed when a police officer pressed his knee against Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes. Floyd pleaded for mercy as he was struggling for breath, but to no avail.

Turbulent protests against racism and police brutality, both in the United States and across the globe, followed Floyd's death.

Trump has made a series of public remarks on the issue but on this occasion, it appears he has fallen foul of copyright. Facebook, which owns Instagram, said it took down the video after receiving the creator's complaint under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

"Organizations that use original art shared on Instagram are expected to have the right to do so," Facebook said via an official statement.

Trump criticized the removal by Twitter. "They are fighting hard for the Radical Left Democrats. A one sided battle. Illegal," he wrote in a post on Twitter.

Trump's social media dispute

It is not the first time Trump has landed himself in hot water with social media giants. Last week Twitter hid and attached a disclaimer to a tweet posted by the president, accusing him of "glorifying violence," and said his post had violated their policies. In reference to the unrest sparked by the May 25 killing of George Floyd, Trump tweeted: "Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts."

Read more: Twitter hides tweet for 'glorifying violence'

Since then, Trump has escalated the dispute by pledging to introduce legislation that may scrap or weaken a law that protects social media firms from liability for content posted by their users.

In this latest episode for which Trump and his team have been accused of copyright infringement, a three-minute 45-second video was posted on Twitter by his campaign on June 3. It was also uploaded on the president's YouTube channel and his campaign's Facebook page. The clip has received more than 1.4 million views on YouTube and Facebook combined.

Facebook change of tack

Meanwhile, Facebook has also joined in with the debate over the "looting starts, the shooting starts" comment from Trump.

At the time Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seemed to be in favor of Trump's right to post whatever he liked, but after a number of staff members walked off the job and numerous others objected, Zuckerberg has vowed to review that policy.

"I know many of you think we should have labeled the president's posts in some way last week," Zuckerberg wrote, referring to his decision not to take down Trump's message.

"We're going to review our policies allowing discussion and threats of state use of force to see if there are any amendments we should adopt," he wrote. "We're going to review potential options for handling violating or partially-violating content aside from the binary leave-it-up or take-it-down decisions."

Turning Fake News into Hard Cash

jsi/sms (Reuters, AP)

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