Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey hit back at President Trump on Friday night, tweeting that the decision to remove a campaign video featuring images from the George Floyd protests due to a copyright claim was legal.
The president on Friday accused Twitter of ‘fighting hard for the Radical Left Democrats’ and waging a ‘one-sided battle’ which he called ‘illegal.’
Trump also referenced 'Section 230' - shorthand for Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which protects social media companies from legal liability for content posted by third-party users of their platforms.
The president has threatened to strike down this provision of the law, a move opposed by social media giants like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others.
President Trump (left) on Friday claimed Twitter was violating the law by removing a Trump campaign video paying tribute to George Floyd. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey (right) denied the charge and responded to the president late on Friday
The president on Friday accused Twitter of ‘fighting hard for the Radical Left Democrats’ and waging a ‘one-sided battle’ which he called ‘illegal.’ Trump also referenced 'Section 230' - shorthand for Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which protects social media companies from legal liability for content posted by third-party users of their platforms
Dorsey responded to Trump late on Friday night, tweeting: ‘Not true and not illegal.’ He added: ‘This was pulled because we got a DMCA complaint from copyright holder’
Dorsey responded to Trump late on Friday night, tweeting: ‘Not true and not illegal.’
‘This was pulled because we got a DMCA complaint from copyright holder,’ Dorsey tweeted.
The company put a label on a video posted by the @TeamTrump account that said, 'This media has been disabled in response to a claim by the copyright owner.'
The video was still up on President Donald Trump's YouTube channel and includes pictures of Floyd, a black man whose death at the hands of the Minneapolis police on May 25 sparked widespread protests, at the start.
'Per our copyright policy, we respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives,' Twitter said in a statement.
It did not say who made the complaint.
The Burbank, California lawyer who requested the takedown, Sam Koolaq, declined to identify his client or the copyright violation in the video.
The video shared by the Trump campaign Twitter account was disabled 'in response to a report by the copyright owner' the message in its place said
He said in an email that he also submitted takedown notices to YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook, which owns Instagram, took the video down later on Friday.
'We received a copyright complaint from the creator under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and have removed the post,' Facebook said in a statement.
The clip, which is still on YouTube, had garnered more than 60,000 views and 13,000 likes. The video-streaming platform's parent Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The three minute and 45 second clip is a montage of photos and videos of peaceful marches and police officers hugging protesters interspersed with some scenes of burning buildings and vandalism, set to gentle piano music and Trump speaking.
In the video, the president's voice-over begins by acknowledging 'the pain that people are feeling' over the death of George Floyd, calling his death a 'grave tragedy'.
'We support the right of peaceful protesters, and we hear their pleas,' said Trump. 'I stand before you as a friend and ally to every American seeking justice and peace.'
Images in the first minute of the video show peaceful protests on the streets of the U.S., but before long, the images change to show violence and riots.
The video shared by Trump's campaign Twitter account showed images of police officers and protesters as Trump spoke in the background
After a minute of such clips, the video turned to the president using the video as a reason to criticize 'radical left-wing groups'
'The memory of George Floyd is being dishonored by rioters, looters and anarchists', the president claims in the video
'The memory of George Floyd is being dishonored by rioters, looters and anarchists', the President claims in the video, who then also takes aim at 'ANTIFA' - the anti-fascism activist group, who he claims is leading the violence, as well as other 'radical left-wing groups.'
The video draws from a number of videos that have been widely shared online on platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok in the days since George Floyd's death showing protests against police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The video then shows protesters and police in moving situations, such as police giving rousing speeches, or hugging protesters. The video does not show the heavy handed tactics that the police have been heavily criticized for when trying to quash the protests.
Last month, Twitter placed fact-check warnings on two tweets from Trump's own account that called mail-in ballots 'fraudulent' and predicted problems with the November elections.
Under the tweets, there is now a link reading 'Get the facts about mail-in ballots' that guides users to a Twitter 'moments' page with fact checks and news stories about Trump's unsubstantiated claims.
It also demoted and placed a stronger warning on a third Trump tweet about Minneapolis protests that read, in part, that 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts.'
Trump initially posted this message to Twitter and Facebook just before 1am on May 29
The company flagged the tweet and put a disclaimer saying that it violated rules about 'glorifying violence'
The move by Twitter prompted Trump to retaliate by threatening to revoke legal protections that bar individuals from suing social media companies for content published by third-party users
Twitter said that the tweet had violated the platform´s rules by glorifying violence.
Trump has long railed about perceived liberal bias among social media companies.
On May 28, Trump signed an executive order seeking to scrap legal protections for social media firms, which he has accused of political bias.
The order could open Twitter, Facebook and Google up to lawsuits by diluting the legal protection which stops them from being liable for posts on their platforms, and which also allows them to moderate content.
Trump's executive order said websites such as Twitter and Facebook 'wield immense, if not unprecedented, power to shape the interpretation of public events'.
Twitter said the order was a political move which attacked free speech.
Trump also praised Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for his criticism of Twitter's decision to fact-check the tweets.
'CEO Mark Zuckerberg is today criticizing Twitter,' Trump wrote before sharing Zuckerberg's statement.
'We have a different policy than, I think, Twitter on this,' Zuckerberg said in an interview with Fox News.
'I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn't be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,' he added.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's decision to allow Trump's controversial post about the Minneapolis riots to remain online without a disclaimer has angered his employees, according to internal documents
On May 29, as riots engulfed Minneapolis and unrest spread to other parts of the country, the president took to social media and wrote: ‘Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.’
'Private companies probably shouldn't be, especially these platform companies, shouldn't be in the position of doing that.'
Zuckerberg has been accused by Democrats of pandering to the President with his comments about censorship so that Facebook will not be targeted, and has even seen protests from people within his own company.
The decision by Zuckerberg to leave Trump's posts as is sparked an uproar at the company, where at least three employees resigned in protest and thousands voiced their displeasure in internal message groups and forums.
Last year, Twitter also removed a Trump tweet that featured a doctored Nickelback music video clip that took aim at former Vice President Joe Biden, after receiving copyright complaints.
What is Donald Trump's executive order targeting social media sites?
Donald Trump signed an order on May 28 seeking to make social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook liable for the content posted by their users.
If enforced, the order would overturn decades of precedent by treating the websites as 'publishers' which could be sued for user-generated content.
It could open them up to a flood of lawsuits from anyone who claims to be harmed by content posted online.
Currently, the sites are protected by a law known as Section 230 which shields them from liability.
Section 230 also allows social platforms to moderate their services by removing posts that, for instance, are obscene or violate the services' own standards, so long as they are acting in 'good faith.'
The author of a book about Section 230 said social media firms have 'based their business models on being large platforms for user content', saying they would not 'exist in their current forms' without the legislation.
However, critics argue that Section 230 gives internet companies a free pass on things like hate speech and content that supports terror organizations.
Trump signed the order after Twitter placed fact-check warnings on two of his tweets about mail-in voting on Tuesday.
Republican senator Josh Hawley said the 'censorship' was relevant to Trump's proposal, because websites which 'editorialize and censor' as Twitter allegedly did should be 'treated like traditional publishers' in law.
However, critics saw Trump's order as an act of political revenge against websites which he has long accused of political bias.
The American Civil Liberties Union called Trump's order 'a blatant and unconstitutional threat to punish social media companies that displease the president.'
One ACLU official said the measure could actually harm Trump by encouraging a more cautious Twitter to limit the president's tweets.
Eric Goldman, director of the High-Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University, said the order is 'not legally enforceable'.
Twitter said the order was a political move which attacked free speech, while Facebook said the measure would 'encourage platforms to censor anything that might offend anyone'.
Trump campaign pulls 'Make Space Great Again' video featuring clips of Elon Musk, JFK, and the moon landing after NASA complains it violates media policy
President Trump's re-election campaign has pulled a video featuring the SpaceX launch and astronauts which appeared to violate NASA's media regulations.
The 'Make Space Great Again' YouTube ad posted on YouTube showed footage from the Apollo program, as well as video of the landmark SpaceX Demo-2 mission and NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.
The ad mixed historic video footage of then-President John F. Kennedy giving a speech about the country’s goal of sending humans to the moon, broadcaster Walter Cronkite announcing the first moon landing, and the Apollo launches.
Those clips are interspersed with Trump giving speeches about the space program as well as plans to send astronauts back to the moon and even Mars.
'Once more, we will launch intrepid souls blazing through the sky and soaring into the heavens,' Trump said in a clip of a 2018 speech that appeared in the ad.
President Trump's campaign removed an ad titled 'Make Space Great Again' after it violated NASA's media regulations banning the use of its logo and astronauts. Trump is seen above on May 30 addressing SpaceX and NASA employees at Kennedy Space Center on May 30
The ad included clips of NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, the two Americans who were launched into space last week
'Once more, we will summon the American spirit to tame the next great American frontier.'
Elon Musk, the SpaceX founder and CEO, is also seen in the video. He appears to be inside the control room during the recent launch at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
YouTube shows the video was removed by the uploader, but copies of it continue to circulate online.
NASA generally allows use of its images and video but prohibits the use of its insignia and photographs of its astronauts in advertisements.
'As a government agency, NASA will not promote or endorse or appear to promote or endorse a commercial product, service or activity. Therefore, there are strict limits placed on the use of any of the NASA identities and emblem imagery in advertisements,' the space agency's advertising regulations say.
'Astronauts or employees who are currently employed by NASA cannot have their names, likenesses or other personality traits displayed in any advertisements or marketing material.'
Hurley's wife Karen Nyberg, a retired astronaut, and their young son were also reportedly shown in the clip.
It also mixed in historic footage including a speech by then-President John F. Kennedy, who gave his famous 'We choose to go to the moon' address on September 12, 1962
The ad also makes use of clips of famed broadcaster Walter Cronkite reacting on the air to the successful Apollo landing on the moon in July 1969
The video included a shot of Neil Armstrong taking his first steps on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission
Armstrong is seen above in the ad next to the American flag after landing on the moon
'I find it disturbing that a video image of me and my son is being used in political propaganda without my knowledge or consent. That is wrong,' Nyberg tweeted.
The video was removed from YouTube less than two hours after Nyberg's tweet.
A Change.org petition to 'Stop Donald Trump politicizing SpaceX and NASA accomplishments' has attracted more than 6,000 signatures so far.
'Donald Trump recently made a presidential campaign video politicizing the accomplishments earned through many years of hard work by the NASA and SpaceX teams,' the petition read.
'This campaign video, created on June 3rd, implies that the return of crewed launch on U.S. soil is solely to the credit of his Administration.
'This implication is untrue; the NASA Commercial Crew Program has been around since the Obama Administration (started in 2011) in its current form, and its roots go back to the Bush Administration.
'Further, NASA and the space industry as a whole have long tried to stay out of politics, and, until this Administration, that goal was at least partially attained.
'The implication that any one person was responsible for the SpaceX-NASA Crew Demo-2 launch is an insult to the work of the teams that meaningfully contributed to its success.'
Hurley's wife Karen Nyberg (above), a retired astronaut, and their young son were also reportedly shown in the clip
'I find it disturbing that a video image of me and my son is being used in political propaganda without my knowledge or consent. That is wrong,' Nyberg tweeted. The video was removed from YouTube less than two hours after Nyberg's tweet
The New York Times described the video as 'the latest effort by the president to parlay his stewardship of American space policy into an upbeat campaign issue.'
The SpaceX mission, which blasted off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center on May 30, was the first crewed US spacecraft in nearly a decade.
Trump, who witnessed the liftoff, has relaunched the race to re-conquer the Moon and to journey onwards to the Red Planet.
But the deadlines - 2024 to reach the moon and 2033 to land humans on Mars - appear unrealistic and have caused turbulence within the space agency.