Twitter on Thursday temporarily restricted US President Donald Trump’s election campaign account from tweeting, saying a video from the account about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son violated its rules.
The video posted by the @TeamTrump account 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.
“Joe Biden is a liar who has been ripping off our country for years,” the video was captioned.
Twitter said the video violated its rules against posting private information, adding the account may need to delete the post in order to continue tweeting.
“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.
Twitter said on Wednesday the Post story violated its “hacked materials” policy, which bars the distribution of content obtained through hacking that contains private information or trade secrets, or puts people at risk of physical harm.
Facebook and Twitter took proactive steps on Wednesday to restrict dissemination of the Post story in the hours after it was published.
President Donald Trump and his political allies also reacted with fury after Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday restricted access to the article.
Facebook said it would reduce distribution of the article, seeking to slow the pace of its spread before the social network’s fact-checkers have a chance to evaluate its authenticity.
Twitter inserted a warning to people who clicked on the article. The company later said it took action to block links to the story because some of the article’s images contained material that violated Twitter’s rules about sharing personal information and hacked materials. “So terrible that Facebook and Twitter took down the story of ‘Smoking Gun’ emails related to Sleepy Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in the @NYPost,” Trump wrote on Twitter as he headed to a rally in Iowa. “There is nothing worse than a corrupt politician. REPEAL SECTION 230!!!”
The president was referring to part of the 1996 Communications Decency Act that protects technology companies from being sued over users’ content on their platforms.
Trump used the article in an extended attack on the Bidens at the rally in Des Moines.
Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, accused the companies of “censorship” and his office said in a statement that he had written letters to Facebook’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, charging that they were trying to influence the presidential election.
Another Republican, Josh Hawley of Missouri, who has emerged as a prominent critic of US technology giants and their influence since his arrival in Washington last year, tweeted: “Next week when the full Senate returns we should VOTE on my bill allowing Americans to sue #BigTech for censorship & unfair treatment.”
Neither Facebook nor Twitter immediately responded to requests for comment on Trump’s tweet and Cruz’s letters.
But Dorsey, in a Twitter post on Wednesday night, said “Our communication around our actions on the @nypost article was not great. And blocking URL sharing via tweet or DM with zero context as to why we’re blocking: unacceptable.”