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Twitter removes video from Trump campaign's George Floyd tribute over copyright

It was the third action taken by the social media platform against tweets from accounts related to the US president

US President Donald Trump has been involved in a row with Twitter after the social media platform fact-checked his tweets for the first time in May 2020. AP Photo
US President Donald Trump has been involved in a row with Twitter after the social media platform fact-checked his tweets for the first time in May 2020. AP Photo

Twitter removed a Trump campaign video tribute to George Floyd due to a copyright claim, the latest escalation in a confrontation between the social media platform and its most influential user.

The @TeamTrump account had tweeted a video collage of images and clips depicting peaceful protests, moments of mourning and law enforcement officers hugging civilians in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, a black American, while in police custody. Accompanied by a gentle piano soundtrack and President Donald Trump’s speech about “healing, not hatred”, it urged Americans to unite.

Mr Trump's campaign accused Twitter and its chief executive Jack Dorsey of censorship while posting another tweet with a link to the video on YouTube.

The video, still available to view on the president’s YouTube channel, appears to have gathered most of its content from social media posts, and at least one copyright holder made a complaint to Twitter about the use of their photo, a company spokesperson told The Hill.

The US president has an audience of 81.7 million followers on his personal Twitter account, which he uses to celebrate accomplishments of his administration and, often, lambast opponents.

In the wake of Floyd’s death and subsequent protests, Mr Trump tweeted a warning that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”, which Twitter deemed to have been in breach of its rules against glorifying violence and led the company to hide that message behind a warning label.

Earlier, the social media giant had placed a fact-check notice on another Trump tweet, which also earned the president’s displeasure.

In retaliation for what Mr Trump and his supporters have deemed political bias, the president issued an executive order targeting social media companies like Twitter. The move, which could expose Twitter, Facebook and other technology giants to a flurry of lawsuits, sparked broad condemnation from liberals and even some conservatives who accused the president of launching an unconstitutional assault on free speech.

Updated: June 5, 2020 12:13 PM

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