One of the more bizarre elements of living in 2020 is having to contend daily with the reality that the world’s most infamous internet troll is the President of the United States. Ironically, the signature initiative of Melania Trump’s tenure as First Lady is her “Be Best” campaign to end cyberbullying and meanwhile her husband can’t seem to go a single day without hurling abuse, threatening violence, or having a childish meltdown on Twitter.
Were he anyone but the president, Donald would have long ago been banned from the website. That said, it appears that Twitter is finally, after years of despicable behavior on the part of our commander-in-chief, taking some action to curb his excesses. Recently, the site came under fire from conservatives when it made the correct decision to fact-check erroneous claims he made about mail-in voting, labeled one of his tweets with a warning that it was “glorifying violence,” and another one as showcasing “manipulated media.”
Now, Twitter has once again taken a bold step to curtail the spread of Trump’s violence fetishization. Earlier today, he tweeted that Washington D.C. “will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone'” as long as he remains president and threatened to ensure this promise by exerting “serious force.”
The president was tapping into a recent wave of fearmongering propagated on Fox News and other right-wing crank websites about the Seattle “autonomous zone” a region of the city where protestors declared themselves independent from the city and country. The fears over this issue have been completely overblown, and the situation is already winding down. In other words, state violence is completely unnecessary.
Understandably, Twitter interpreted the message as a threat and moved to label it as abusive behavior. The @TwitterSafety account explained the president’s tweet will now carry a “public interest notice” for violating the website’s rules.
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
When one visits Trump’s Twitter profile, the offending tweet has been grayed out and given a warning that users must click “VIEW” on in order to see the original full message. It’s a simple, reasonable solution to the problem of policing the most powerful man in the world but you can guarantee Republicans will be shrieking about it for days to come. The far simpler solution of telling Trump to start behaving like a stable adult most likely will not occur to the GOP talking heads.
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