Facebook, Twitter refuse to remove Trump comments about Scarborough staffer

Facebook, Twitter refuse to remove Trump comments about Scarborough staffer
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Twitter and Facebook declined this week to remove posts from President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE referencing an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory about former GOP congressman and current MSNBC host Joe ScarboroughCharles (Joe) Joseph ScarboroughHillicon Valley: NSA warns of new security threats | Teen accused of Twitter hack pleads not guilty | Experts warn of mail-in voting misinformation House Democrat calls on Facebook to take down doctored Pelosi video Hillicon Valley: Trump backs potential Microsoft, TikTok deal, sets September deadline | House Republicans request classified TikTok briefing | Facebook labels manipulated Pelosi video MORE.

Facing pressure from critics to act in response to Trump's repeated messages spreading the unsubstantiated theory about Scarborough surrounding the death of one of his aides in 2001, officials at the two companies have pointed to their policies allowing debate on controversial topics.

The president continued his attacks against Scarborough on Wednesday, despite repeated calls from lawmakers in both parties for him to cease his attacks and a plea from the family of Lori Klausutis, the intern who was found dead after fainting in Scarborough's congressional office.

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“Psycho Joe Scarborough is rattled, not only by his bad ratings but all of the things and facts that are coming out on the internet about opening a Cold Case,” the president tweeted Wednesday morning, falsely labeling the former aide's death as a cold case. “He knows what is happening!”

Klausutis had an undiagnosed heart condition and died after she lost consciousness and hit her head on a desk in 2001. Her death was ruled an accident.

A Twitter spokesperson told CNN that the company is "deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family" but said that the posts would remain up.

“We’ve drawn lines for certain issue areas, including civic integrity and voting,” a spokesman for Twitter added to WAMU. “However, as we said on the Scarborough tweets, we’ve been working to expand existing product features and policies so we can more effectively address things like this going forward, and we hope to have those changes in place shortly.”

CEO Jack Dorsey also reportedly addressed the issue at Twitter's annual meeting on Wednesday, telling attendees, “We also believe that it's important that people have conversations around what's happening, especially with our global leaders, that they can push back, that they can speak truth to power, that they can share and show why this particular behavior is not right, and not just.”

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A Facebook spokesperson added to The Hill that the company does not remove "political speech" from its platform for the sole reason of it being deemed offensive, “as this content understandably is to the family of Lori Klausutis and others.”

“Speech from candidates and heads of state is among the most scrutinized content on our platform, which helps ensure people are held accountable for their words," the spokesperson said.

Facebook has previously said it would remove misleading "census" ads from Trump's reelection campaign after criticism earlier this month. In that instance, the company said it had policies in place to prevent confusion surrounding the U.S. Census.

Twitter also moved this week to add warnings on two tweets from the president referencing mail-in ballots in California, which he claimed without evidence were largely fraudulent.

"These Tweets contain potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots," the company told The Hill on Tuesday.