Following President Trump’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis, social media companies have voiced a clear message: Any content that wishes for the death of anyone, including the president, will be removed.
After the president announced that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for coronavirus early Friday morning, many people, including his political opponents, wished them well.
But many social media users did not feel the same way, and Facebook, Twitter and TikTok have all announced that posts expressing a desire for someone to die will be removed for violating each platform’s user guidelines.
Twitter said Friday night that “tweets that wish or hope for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against *anyone* are not allowed and will need to be removed. This does not automatically mean suspension.”
Twitter asks that users report any form of abuse or harassment on the platform.
“Abuse and harassment have no place on Twitter,” a spokesperson told CBS News on Saturday. “We do not tolerate content that wishes, hopes or expresses a desire for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against an individual or group of people. If we identify accounts that violate these rules, we will take enforcement action.”
Some Twitter users were surprised by the announcement. In the past, the platform has been inconsistent with removing tweets featuring hate speech and threats of violence. Did they get calls from the Secret Service perhaps?
Facebook and TikTok echoed the sentiment, stating they would remove posts wishing for the president’s death.
“To be clear, Facebook is removing death threats or content targeted directly at the president that wishes him death, including comments on his posts or his page – in addition to content tagging him,” Facebook spokesperson Liz Bourgeois tweeted Friday night, following Twitter’s announcement.
A spokesperson for TikTok also confirmed to CBS News on Saturday morning that “content that wishes the death of any person, including the president, violates our community guidelines, and we remove such content as we become aware of it.”