U.S. President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign’s Twitter account was briefly restricted from tweeting on Thursday, spurring an outcry from Republican lawmakers who accused social media companies of acting like “speech police” and vowing to hold Twitter responsible.
Twitter temporarily blocked the @TeamTrump account from sending tweets after it posted a video about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son that it said violated its rules.
The video referred to a New York Post story from Wednesday that contained alleged details of Hunter Biden’s business dealings with a Ukrainian energy company and said the former vice president had met with an adviser of the company.
Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement that Republican-led Senate committees have previously concluded that Joe Biden engaged in no wrongdoing related to Ukraine. He also denied such a meeting had taken place.
A Twitter spokesman told Reuters earlier on Thursday that the @TeamTrump account, as well as the accounts of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and the New York Post, had been blocked from tweeting due to the company’s policies on hacked materials and posting private information. He said the accounts may need to delete the rule-breaking posts to continue tweeting.
The Trump campaign, with 2.2 million followers, was sending tweets again on Thursday afternoon. It said in a new tweet it was “re-posting the video Twitter doesn’t want you to watch.” A Twitter spokesman told Reuters that the site would not take action as alterations to the video meant it no longer violated its policies.
“It’s going to all end up in a big lawsuit and there are things that can happen that are very severe that I’d rather not see happen, but it’s probably going to have to,” Trump said, when asked about the move by Twitter. Both Facebook Inc and Twitter took proactive steps on Wednesday to restrict dissemination of the Post story in the hours after it was published.
Facebook reduced how often the story shows up in users’ news feeds and elsewhere on the Facebook platform, an action that spokesman Andy Stone said the company takes “if we have signals that a piece of content is false.”
Facebook did not immediately respond to Reuters questions on whether its fact-checking partners were working on rating the NY Post’s story.