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The standoff between Twitter and US President Donald Trump has escalated this morning, when Trump took to the platform to express his dismay over the protests that have rocked Minneapolis in the wake of the brutal police killing of George Floyd on Monday.
Trump expressed that "I can't stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right..."
The second part of his tweet was slapped with a warning from the platform, that read: "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."
Under that warning label, Trump wrote: "...These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen again. Just spoke with Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control, but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!"
After Floyd's death, which was captured in a viral video that spread across the internet, Trump took to Twitter to express his intent to have the Department of Justice look into the matter.
Trump has since signed an executive order putting pressure on Twitter to either play by free speech rules or give up section 230 protections that prevent a platform from being held responsible for content on its site.
If Twitter is a platform, then they are not curators or arbiters of the content on their site. This is how they have been meant to operate up until this point. However, Twitter's efforts at monitoring and labeling content has moved them closer to the realm of being a publication.
If Twitter is a publication, that employs fact-checkers to pick through all the content and determine its veracity, then the company is responsible for all the speech on its site.
Upon signing the order, Trump said "We're here today to defend free speech from one of the gravest dangers it has faced in American history, frankly. A small handful of powerful social media monopolies control the vast portion of all private and public communications in the United States."
He went on to say that tech companies have the "unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter" speech globally. "They have points of view."
The Minnesota National Guard has deployed nearly 500 soldiers in the twin cities of Minneapolis St. Paul, which has been in turmoil since Floyd's killing on Monday.