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Twitter, Facebook disable Trump campaign’s Floyd video tribute over copyright

Companies say they received a claim against campaign clip; Instagram also removes the video, though it remained available on YouTube on Friday night

US President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, May 30, 2020. (AP/Patrick Semansky)
US President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, May 30, 2020. (AP/Patrick Semansky)

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have blocked a Trump campaign video tribute to George Floyd over a copyright claim, in moves that could adds to tensions between social media platforms and the US president.

Twitter was first to remove the clip. 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.”

It was then removed by Facebook and Instagram as well.

The video was still up on US President Donald Trump’s YouTube channel and includes pictures of Floyd, whose death 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. He said in an email that he also submitted a takedown notice to YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0P40rSPTRKI

“We received a copyright complaint from the creator under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and have removed the post,” Facebook said in a statement. YouTube did not 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.

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 US 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.” Twitter said that the tweet had violated the platform’s rules by glorifying violence.

Trump responded by threatening to retaliate against social media companies.

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.

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