Twitter removes photo from Trump tweet after New York Times copyright complaint

Twitter on Wednesday removed an image from a tweet by President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit MORE after The New York Times filed a copyright claim, marking the second time the tech company has taken such a step regarding content shared by the president. 

The president earlier this week tweeted a meme featuring a black-and-white image of himself pointing at the camera with text that read: “In reality, they’re not after me, they’re after you. I’m just in the way.” The original image, taken by Pulitzer-winning Times photographer Damon Winter, came from a 2015 Times feature on the president’s candidacy.

The photo has since been replaced with a notice that reads: "This image has been removed in response to a report from the copyright holder."


A Twitter spokesperson told The Hill the platform removed the image following a complaint from a rights holder under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, as first reported by Axios. The Lumen Database, a database of legal requests to remove online material, shows a complaint was submitted by the Times on Wednesday.

A spokesperson from the Times confirmed to The Hill that the newspaper filed the takedown notice prompting Twitter's action.


Twitter's copyright policy says that the company will respond to reports of alleged copyright infringement, including allegations of unauthorized use of a copyrighted video or image. A spokesperson added that the company addresses "valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives."

The move comes as Twitter and other social media companies ramp up their content-moderation efforts in the wake of growing scrutiny over incendiary speech online. In recent weeks, Twitter has attached warning and fact-checking labels to separate posts shared by the president. 

The company in June also flagged another Trump tweet for containing “manipulated media.” That tweet included an edited clip of a Black and a white toddler embracing, with a fictitious CNN chyron reading “terrified todler [sic] runs from racist baby." The clip then cut to the original, unedited video and a title card reading: “America is not the problem. Fake news is.”

Jukin Media, a company representing the parent of one of the toddlers in the video, flagged the video on their behalf, leading to its removal from both Twitter and Facebook. CNN, meanwhile, noted that it had covered the unedited video when it first went viral with the headline: "These two toddlers are showing us what real-life besties look like."