Shortly after midnight, President Donald Trump tweeted about the ongoing civil unrest in Minneapolis, following protests over the police killing of an African-American man, George Floyd: “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
On the Friday morning edition of Fox & Friends, however, the big story about the inflammatory tweet was this: Twitter soon hid that message behind a warning, declaring it violated the service’s rules about “glorifying violence,” but still allowed the message to be viewed after the user pressed a button on the screen.
One discussion over Twitter placing a flag on the tweet lasted for over eight minutes.
Co-host Brian Kilmeade said Twitter’s action to flag Trump’s tweet “comes just hours after the president signed an executive order that’s cracking down on social media censorship.” Trump’s executive order attempts to strip social media companies of legal immunities they have under current federal law, and it is in retaliation against Twitter placing fact-checking notices on his prior tweets that falsely stated mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic would be a platform for voter fraud.
Fox News correspondent Griff Jenkins explained: “Twitter really started a war earlier this week, when they flagged the president's tweets about mail-in ballots. But at 3:17 a.m. this morning, amid civil unrest in Minneapolis, they surely escalated this feud, flagging and placing a violation notice before you can view the president's late last night tweet about the violence.”
Jenkins also explained about Twitter’s response to the executive order: “Look, this is already headed to court, likely, but the president threatened yesterday to quote, ‘shut down Twitter.’ Now this overnight. We will see what the reaction is this morning, when the president is up and tweeting.”
“Are they going to start policing everyone?” said Fox Nation host Emily Compagno — though she was actually referring to Twitter’s treatment of the president, not the societal issues of police violence and the unequal treatment of minority communities, to which the president of the United States has responded with a call for further mass violence.
“And the inverse is true, too.” she continued. “If they choose these to fact-check, then does it mean that they are saying that all of the landfills of untruths that are on there, are they supporting that then, by not saying anything? … Their credibility has obviously been obliterated.”
Before “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” was used by the president of the United States and later by the official White House Twitter account, the phrase reportedly was used by Miami police chief Walter Headley during civil unrest in 1967. NBC News unearthed a quote of Headley saying that “We don't mind being accused of police brutality.”