The Twitter-Trump War Escalates

By Jeffrey M. Kaden

Last week, Twitter, after receiving a complaint for copyright infringement, decided to pull a Trump campaign video that included a tribute to George Floyd from a pair of tweets posted by the President. The video, which included pictures of Floyd, and whose death has sparked protests nationwide, had been tweeted by the @TeamTrump and @TrumpWarRoom accounts.

Twitter said that they took this action after receiving a copyright complaint from the California lawyer Sam Koolaq, who refused to publicly identify his client or the specific copyright violation. “Per our copyright policy, we respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives,” a spokesperson for Twitter stated via email.

Facebook and Instagram, its photo-sharing service, followed Twitter’s lead and also removed the video because of the copyright infringement complaint.

The video, in addition to arguably paying tribute to Floyd, also criticizes “antifa and other radical leftwing groups” as scenes from the recent protests appear in the background.

The decision to remove the video by Twitter is just another shot in the continuing battle between Trump and social media companies, particularly Twitter. Just last month, Trump signed an executive order whose very purposes was to limit legal protections for social media companies with regard to publishing and moderating their content; this was apparently done in response to Twitter calling out two of the President’s tweets for containing “potentially misleading information.” Trump was of course unhappy that Twitter was now flagging his tweets for misinformation as well as for promoting violence.

While the executive order clearly appears to be payback, given Trump’s tweeting history, this author commends Twitter for now “telling it like it is”.