Police Preparing For Pro-Trump Rally At Twitter Headquarters Today
Following Donald Trump’s lifetime ban from the social media platform, police in San Francisco are preparing for a pro-Trump rally at Twitter’s headquarters.
In the fallout of the Capitol riot on January 6, social media companies have taken firm action against the departing POTUS as the clock ticks down on his time in the White House.
A great number of tech platforms have banned or restricted Trump, including Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, Instagram, Discord and others.
On January 8, Twitter announced it had permanently suspended the president ‘due to the risk of further incitement of violence’, in the wake of comments made to supporters after the riot. It sparked fierce pushback from right-wing users, continually alleging their voices are being silenced on social media, videos and podcasts.
The San Francisco Police Department has reportedly heard word of a pro-Trump demonstration due to take place outside Twitter’s headquarters today, January 11, though the building is mostly deserted due to the pandemic, with most employees working from home, Tech Crunch reports.
In an email, the police department wrote it was ‘aware of the possibility of a demonstration on the 1300 block of Market Street tomorrow, Monday January 11, 2021. SFPD has been in contact with representatives from Twitter. We will have sufficient resources available to respond to any demonstrations as well as calls for service citywide.’
The spokesperson added: ‘The San Francisco Police Department is committed to facilitating the public’s right to First Amendment expressions of free speech. We ask that everyone exercising their First Amendment rights be considerate, respectful, and mindful of the safety of others.’
Twitter specifically took issue with two tweets; one regarding the ‘75,000,000 great American Patriots’ who voted for Trump, the other announcing his lack of attendance at President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20. Following his legacy of warnings from the platform, Twitter decided they were in violation of the glorification of violence policy.
Some politicians have criticised the move, arguing that it falls more in line with the decision of a publisher than a platform – a status that helps social media companies avoid certain legal obligations that news sites have to follow.
Matt Hancock said: ‘Social media platforms are taking editorial decisions, and that is a very big question because then it raises questions about their editorial judgments and the way that they’re regulated.’
In 2019, the Commons culture committee proposed a theoretical new category for Twitter and other social media sites, which would instate ‘legal liability for content identified as harmful after it has been posted by users’.
However, thanks to a piece of legislation called Section 230 under US law, Twitter hasn’t done anything wrong. It allows ‘any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected’.
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