Two of the Federal Communications Commission’s conservative-leaning leaders criticized Twitter after the social media giant censored one of President Donald Trump’s tweets addressing the Minneapolis riots.
Twitter is allowing Iranian Supreme Leader Sayyid Ali Khamenei to widely distribute content glorifying violence, according to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
“Serious question for @Twitter: Do these tweets from Supreme Leader of Iran @khamenei_ir violate ‘Twitter Rules about glorifying violence’?” Pai tweeted, referencing the rule Twitter claimed the president violated when he tweeted Friday morning that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Trump was referring to the U.S. military potentially quelling the riots.
Pai posted snapshots of tweets from Khamenei, including one from May 20 in which the Iranian leader said: “We will support and assist any nation or any group anywhere who opposes and fights the Zionist regime, and we do not hesitate to say this.”
Another one of Khamenei’s tweets argued that the “only remedy until the removal of the Zionist regime is armed resistance.”
— Ajit Pai (@AjitPaiFCC) May 29, 2020
Pai’s tweet came after Twitter hid Trump’s tweet under a banner noting that the post violates company rules against glorifying violence.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr also pilloried the social media company on Friday, telling his Twitter followers: “Twitter has abandoned any attempt at a good faith application of its rules. No one should take comfort in that.”
“Twitter’s censorship here doesn’t even appear to fall within the policy it cites,” he added.
Twitter’s censorship here doesn’t even appear to fall within the policy it cites.
Like any business, Twitter has a right to its views.
And like any business, Twitter is accountable for meeting its terms of service.
No business gets to violate those terms for political reasons.
— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) May 29, 2020
“The company should be held accountable for “meeting its terms of service,” Carr wrote, adding a screenshot of Trump’s censored tweet. Twitter also censored the White House’s official Twitter account after it quoted the president’s tweet. The White House noted in a tweet Friday that the company admitted in an email that the tweet it censored does not violate its rules.
Twitter, in an email to the White House moments ago, admitted that the very tweet they are censoring does not violate any Twitter rules.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 29, 2020
Trump designated Pai as FCC chairman in 2017, while Carr was nominated and later confirmed by the U.S. Senate the same year.
The president signed an executive order Wednesday aimed at applying stricter regulations on social media companies. The order requires the Commerce Department to request Pai and Carr’s agency to re-examine the scope of Section 230, part of a decades-old law protecting internet companies from certain lawsuits.
Pai’s statement potentially opens a problematic front for Twitter. If Trump or Congress do put teeth in social media regulations, they may use the FCC in some capacity to enforce those rules. And with Pai’s comments, it’s clear he isn’t going to take any nonsense from the notoriously liberal site.
Twitter has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment about Carr’s assertion.
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