Twitter escalated its confrontation with President Donald Trump on Friday, adding warning labels to two tweets by Trump and the official White House Twitter account that implied that protesters in Minneapolis could be shot, The New York Times reported.
Amid the unrest in Minnesota, Trump posted a message on Twitter early Friday saying that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter quickly prevented users from viewing the tweet without reading a brief notice that the post glorified violence, the first time it had applied such a warning on any public figure’s tweets. The official White House account then re-posted Trump’s message; Twitter responded by adding the same notice.
Twitter’s actions came a day after Trump signed an executive order to limit its legal protections under a statute that shields social media companies from liability for the content posted on their platforms.
Twitter publicly opposed the executive order, calling it “a reactionary and politicized approach to a landmark law,” ramping up a conflict with Trump that has exploded this week.
The decision to add the new warning labels was approved by Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, after a late-night debate among company officials, said a person with knowledge of the deliberations.
Twitter further tightened restrictions on the messages from Trump and the White House by blocking users from liking or replying to them, though people could still retweet the messages if they added a comment of their own.
But Twitter did not go as far as taking the posts down, saying it was in the public’s interest that the messages remain accessible. The back-and-forth between Trump and the social network on Friday punctuated a week of conflict between the two.
The tussle began after Trump tweeted a hurtful and unsubstantiated conspiracy theory this month to attack the MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, which caused critics to call on Twitter to remove the messages. While Twitter did not take those posts down, it added fact-checking labels for the first time to two of the President’s election-related posts on Tuesday. The labels stood out because Twitter for years did little to moderate Trump’s often inaccurate and threatening posts.