Apparently, Twitter and Facebook take copyright infringement seriously, even if the entity infringing is President Donald Trump’s campaign. The platforms recently took down a tribute video to George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died after a police officer kneeled on his neck in Minneapolis.
The video the platforms took down featured Trump discussing Floyd’s death in a voice-over followed by photos and video clips from the protests, including scenes of violence, set to soft piano music. Both Twitter and Facebook said they had received complaints under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, also took down the video.
In response to Twitter’s action, Trump tweeted that the company was fighting hard for the “Radical Left Democrats” and said that the action was illegal. He also mentioned Section 230, a critical law for the tech industry that protects websites from being liable for content posted on their platforms, which
he has said needs to be revoked.
Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, denied Trump’s allegations.
“Not true and not illegal,” Dorsey said, citing Trump’s tweet. “This was pulled because we got a DMCA complaint from copyright holder.”
Facebook echoed that line in an email to Politico.
“We received a copyright complaint from the creator under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and have removed the post,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said. “Organizations that use original art shared on Instagram are expected to have the right to do so.”
It’s not clear what image or video was the subject of the complaint. According to Politico’s report, a California law firm confirmed that it had submitted complaints to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube over the video on behalf of an artist it represents.
As of Saturday, the video could still be found on YouTube, which declined to take it down because it said the version uploaded to its platform was different than the version posted to Twitter. YouTube told Politico that the video it did not contain the “allegedly infringing content upon review” and that it was leaving it up.
The moves by Twitter and Facebook are likely to cause another temper tantrum at the White House. Twitter, especially, is already on Trump’s bad side for recently applying fact-checking and cautionary labels above and over his tweets for spreading falsehoods and glorifying violence.
Facebook, on the other hand, has declined to take down Trump’s inflammatory posts about protests on the social network, which led its employees to walk out in protest.