The Twitter Safety team has marked another one of President Donald Trump's tweets for "violating our policy against abusive behavior." The post warned that protesters would "be met with serious force" if they tried to demonstrate in Washington, D.C., the way they have in Seattle, Washington. Still, many critics argued that Twitter should simply have suspended the president's account like they would with any other violator.
"There will never be an 'Autonomous Zone' in Washington, D.C., as long as I'm your president," Trump warned on Tuesday morning. He was referencing the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone — a Seattle neighborhood where protesters have been clashing with police for weeks. According to Twitter Safety, this constituted "the presence of a threat of harm against an identifiable group." The service has been throttling Trump's language over the last few weeks without suspending his account or taking any of the other actions usually used against Twitter offenders.
We’ve placed a public interest notice on this Tweet for violating our policy against abusive behavior, specifically, the presence of a threat of harm against an identifiable group.https://t.co/AcmW6O6d4t— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) June 23, 2020
"Per our policies, this Tweet will remain on the service given its relevance to ongoing public conversation," the Twitter Safety team continued. "Engagements with the Tweet will be limited. People will be able to Retweet with Comment, but not Like, Reply or Retweet it."
Many responders praised the service for finally taking a stand against the president's posts, but others thought that it did not go far enough. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has previously said that suspending Trump from Twitter would not be in the best interests of the people he governs. Yet, many users want to see him face real consequences for making public threats or spreading misinformation.
Trump's post about protesters comes after a few days of heated debate about the coronavirus pandemic. He has been under fire recently for hosting a campaign rally with no masks or social distancing required, and for saying there that he asked his administration to "slow down" testing for new cases of COVID-19.
The Trump administration scrambled to cover for this statement in the following days, telling reporters that he was "kidding." However, on Tuesday, Trump told ABC News: "I don't kid," explaining that he really did want to see the U.S. "slow down" its coronavirus testing to present more favorable statistics. Public health officials say that this is the wrong move.