Facebook removes Trump campaign tribute to George Floyd over copyright
Facebook and Instagram on Friday removed a video tribute to George Floyd posted by President Trump’s reelection campaign because it included unauthorized copyrighted material.
“We received a copyright complaint from the creator under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and have removed the post,” a Facebook official told The Hill. “Organizations that use original art shared on Instagram are expected to have the right to do so.”
Twitter removed the same video from its platform on Thursday, drawing scorn from the Trump campaign, which called the move “an unfortunate escalation” of tensions between the social media giant and the president’s reelection team.
At issue is a nearly four-minute long video the campaign posted across all of the social media platforms that is narrated by a speech the president gave a few days after Floyd died during a Minneapolis police arrest.
In the video, Trump calls Floyd’s death a “grave tragedy” over images of peaceful protesters mourning his death.
The video also warns about “violence and anarchy” from radical “left-wing groups” over images of riots and looting. And Trump can be heard praising law enforcement officials as “devoted public servants” over images of police and civilians sharing hugs or cleaning the streets.
The video was shared by Trump and many others in the president’s orbit before Twitter removed it with a message that said: “This media has been disabled in response to a report by the copyright owner.”
The Trump campaign blasted Twitter in a statement, accusing the social media company of “making up the rules as they go along.”
“Twitter has repeatedly failed to explain why their rules seem to only apply to the Trump campaign but not to others,” spokesman Andrew Clark said.
But both Twitter and Facebook said the video contains copyrighted content that the Trump campaign did not have permission to use.
Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, social media platforms can be held liable if they do not remove infringing content.
The U.S. Copyright Office has recommended a policy for social media platforms that “provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers and account holders of the service provider’s system or network who are repeat infringers.”
The removal of the video comes amid heightened tensions between Trump and Big Tech.
Last week, Twitter appended a fact-check to one of the president’s claims about mail voting fraud and later added a warning to one of his tweets about the demonstrations in response to Floyd’s death.
The president responded with an executive order directing the federal government to consider stripping some of the legal protections afforded to social media platforms.
Facebook, meanwhile, has come under criticism from Democrats for refusing to fact check political speech posted on its forum.
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