The Trump campaign cries censorship after Twitter removes a video about George Floyd on copyright grounds
- Twitter removed a video posted by the Trump campaign's official account after the company received a copyright complaint.
- The video was a four-minute speech by President Donald Trump about the death of George Floyd, played over images and clips from protests.
- This isn't the first time Twitter has removed a video from Trump on copyright grounds. In 2019 it took down a meme of his because it used a clip from Nickelback's "Photograph."
Twitter has taken down a video tribute to George Floyd posted by the Trump campaign's official account, further escalating tensions with the president.
The video, posted by @TeamTrump on Wednesday, is almost four minutes long and features a speech from President Donald Trump played over various photos and videos to sad piano music.
In it, Trump describes the killing of George Floyd as a "grave tragedy" and says his memory is being "dishonored by rioters, looters, and anarchists." He also claims "violence and vandalism is being led by antifa and other radical left-wing groups," something for which there is little evidence. The video, titled "Healing, not Hatred," is still up on the president's YouTube channel.
A Twitter representative told The Hill it took the video down on Thursday after the copyright owner of one of the images complained.
A spokesman for the Trump campaign retorted that Twitter was "making up the rules as they go along."
In a tweet posted late Thursday, the @TeamTrump account complained, "Twitter and @Jack are censoring this uplifting and unifying message from President Trump after the #GeorgeFloyd tragedy," adding that the media had "refused" to cover the speech.
—Team Trump (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TeamTrump) June 4, 2020
Trump has been at loggerheads with Twitter after it applied fact-checks to two tweets of his on May 27 that falsely claimed mail-in votes in California would be "substantially fraudulent." On May 29, Twitter then applied a clickthrough block to a tweet of his regarding unrest after Floyd's killing for breaking its rules on "glorifying violence."
Though this has come during a particularly tense time between the president and his preferred social-media platform, it's not the first time Twitter has removed a post of his on copyright grounds.
In October, Twitter removed a meme posted by Trump attacking Joe Biden and his son Hunter because it featured a clip from the music video for the Nickelback song "Photograph." Warner Media Group made a complaint, and Twitter removed it.
"From the dubious removal of the hilarious Nickelback video to capricious fact-checks and manipulated media labels to questionable claims of copyright, Twitter has repeatedly failed to explain why their rules seem to only apply to the Trump campaign but not to others," the spokesman for the Trump campaign told The Hill.
"Censoring out the president's important message of unity around the George Floyd protests is an unfortunate escalation of this double standard," he added.
According to Twitter's most recent transparency report, it removed almost 107,000 tweets on copyright grounds from January 2019 to June 2019.
"Per our copyright policy, we respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives," a Twitter representative told Business Insider.
Sam Koolaq, the copyright lawyer who filed the complaint on behalf of the claimant, told Business Insider: "My client is very talented, so I can understand why the President chose to use their work as part of his re-election efforts. Thankfully, the law protects artists from unauthorized usage, even when the unauthorized user is the President. Twitter made the right decision here, and we hope that other platforms will soon follow suit."
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