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Twitter flags another Trump tweet, for 'threat of harm'

The company veils Trump's tweet with a notice that says the post violates its rules.

Angela Lang/CNET

Twitter veiled another tweet by President Donald Trump for breaking the site's rules, a move that'll likely increase tensions between the social network and the White House. Twitter said the tweet, which threatened protesters in Washington, DC, violated its policy against "the presence of a threat of harm against an identifiable group." 

Twitter placed a notice over the tweet, but you can still click to see it because of what Twitter calls "its relevance to ongoing public conversation." Users can't reply or "like" the tweet, but they can retweet it with a comment. 

"There will never be an 'Autonomous Zone' in Washington, D.C., as long as I'm your President," Trump says in the tweet, referring to recent suggestions that protesters take over a part of the city. "If they try they will be met with serious force!"

Last month, Twitter began labeling some of Trump's tweets after the president posted that mail-in ballots for the November election would be "substantially fraudulent." The tweet prompted Twitter to apply a fact-checking label indicating that the post contained "potentially misleading information" and providing a link so users could learn more. Trump followed by tweeting that he would take "big action" against social media companies.

In May, Twitter also obscured a tweet by the president about protests in Minnesota over the death of George Floyd in police custody. During that time, Twitter screened out Trump's tweet behind a warning label that says the post violates the site's rules about "glorifying violence." Users can click a button to go ahead and read the tweet.

In late May, Trump signed an executive order targeting social media platforms. The Justice Department last week unveiled a proposal to amend Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, widely seen as the most important law protecting speech online. The proposal would remove protections that shield social media platforms and internet providers, like Verizon and Comcast, from lawsuits over posts made by users on their services.

Twitter's response to Trump's posts has contrasted with Facebook's response.

Trump posted the same remarks about the autonomous zone to his Facebook account, where the post has racked up more than 128,000 reactions and 12,000 comments. Users have shared the Facebook post more than 5,000 times. Facebook didn't respond to questions about whether Trump's post violated its rules. 

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said social media platforms shouldn't be fact-checking the president. He's also repeatedly defended his refusal to take down or flag similar posts, despite criticism from civil rights leaders and protests by some Facebook employees.

Last week, however, both Facebook and Twitter removed a video posted by Trump because of a copyright complaint. Twitter also labeled Trump's tweet that contained the video, saying the post included "manipulated media."

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