SAN FRANCISCO: The Twitter Inc has disabled US President Donald Trump’s campaign tribute video to George Floyd on its platform, citing a copyright complaint.
The clip, which is a collation of photos and videos of protest marches and instances of violence in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, has Trump speaking in the background.
Floyd’s death last month at the hands of a police officer led to nationwide protests. In widely circulated video footage, a white officer was seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he gasped for air and repeatedly groaned, “I can’t breathe,” before passing out.
Twitter said the video on the president’s campaign account was affected by its copyright policy.
“We respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorised representatives,” a Twitter representative said.
The Burbank, California, lawyer who requested the takedown, Sam Koolaq, declined to identify his client or the copyright violation in the video. He said in an email that he also submitted takedown notices to YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.
Twitter has been under fierce scrutiny from the Trump administration since it fact-checked Trump’s tweets about unsubstantiated claims of mail-in voting fraud. It also labeled a Trump tweet about protests in Minneapolis as “glorifying violence”.
Trump has pledged to introduce legislation that may scrap or weaken a law that shields social media companies from liability for content posted by their users.
Ken Farnaso, Trump campaign’s deputy press secretary, said it was “unsurprisingly sad” that Twitter had joined the mainstream media in censoring the president’s messages.
The three-minute 45-second video was tweeted by his campaign on June 3. It was also uploaded on Trump’s YouTube channel and his campaign’s Facebook page. The clip has more than 1.4 million views on YouTube and Facebook combined.
Facebook said it has not received any copyright complaints related to the clip, while YouTube’s parent company Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the past, Twitter has taken down at least two of Trump’s videos that had music from the soundtracks of two movies The Dark Knight Rises and Photograph.
Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2020