Chris White, DCNF
Twitter has yet to censor a tweet Slate posted Thursday morning suggesting that violence is an “important tool” for activists who are trying to push for social changes.
Slate’s tweet links to a Wednesday podcast from the website extolling the supposed virtues of violence as a means of communication. The tweet is a form of historical analysis, not an incitement of violence, Slate spokeswoman Katie Rayford told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Twitter has not responded to the DCNF’s request for comment addressing whether the post violates the company’s rules against inciting violence.
Non-violence is an important tool for protests, but so is violence. https://t.co/DD6gaLPKuF
— Slate (@Slate) June 4, 2020
Historian Kellie Carter Jackson discussed on the podcast what she said is the historical importance violent actions have played in creating systemic change.
“Violence becomes the main way people can communicate their political, social, or economic grievances,” said Jackson, who posted a tweet Wednesday quoting Slate’s comment. Twitter has not responded to questions about Jackson’s tweet either.
Slate dismissed concerns that the tweet violate Twitter’s policies.
“It is dangerous to conflate a tweet containing historical analysis from a news organization with one from an elected official inciting violence,” Rayford said in a statement to the DCNF. “We urge everyone to listen to this conversation that provides important context for the current moment and movement.”
I hope everyone will give this a careful listen. My latest for Slate…
— K Carter Jackson (@kcarterjackson) June 3, 2020
Twitter’s decision not to immediately nix the tweet contrasts with the company’s quick decision to censor President Donald Trump after he posted a tweet suggesting that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” In 1967, Miami police Chief Walter Headley used the same phrase during hearings about crime in the Florida city, which people believe incited violence against black people.
The president was referring to the violent actions activists are taking in support of George Floyd, a black man who died May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes, per a video of the incident. The police officer, Derek Chauvin, was immediately fired after the incident and faces third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.
Twitter swiftly took action. The social media company concealed the tweet under a banner that reads: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”
The company cited the historical relevance of the term Trump used to justify the move.
Trump later clarified what the tweet was meant to convey, telling his Twitter followers May 29 that looting often leads to gun violence, something the president said he hopes to avoid. The president signed an executive order on May 28 calling for tech companies to be held liable for censorship.
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