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Gaetz tweet labeled by Twitter as ’glorifying violence’

Jim Thompson
Northwest Florida Daily News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Twitter post from Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., suggesting that so-called “antifascists” should be hunted down like Middle Eastern terrorists has been labeled as “glorifying violence” by the social networking service.

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So-called far-left “antifascists,” broadly labeled as “Antifa,” along with far-right groups like the “Boogaloo” movement, have been identified as sources of violence and destruction in recent protests around the country regarding police brutality.

“Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?” Gaetz wrote in a Monday tweet on his personal Twitter account.

Gaetz maintains two Twitter accounts, @mattgaetz, which focuses on personal content, and @RepMattGaetz, focused on his work representing Northwest Florida in Congress.

Subsequently, Twitter appended a message to the tweet noting that it "violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.“

A link in the Twitter message allows Twitter users to view Gaetz’s tweet, and a second link in the message points users to Twitter’s policy on “public-interest exceptions.”

In that policy, Twitter notes, in part, that while it routinely removes tweets that violate its policies, “we recognize that sometimes it may be in the public interest to allow people to view Tweets that would otherwise be taken down.”

Currently under that policy, exceptions are limited to “one critical type of public-interest content — Tweets from elected and government officials — given the significant public interest in knowing and being able to discuss their actions and statements.”

In a subsequent tweet posted on @mattgaetz, Gaetz called Twitter’s labeling of his tweet “a badge of honor.“

The congressman then went on to repeatedly tweak Twitter, posting one tweet suggesting that “all the woke @twitter virtue signaling” might have an effect on the company’s valuation, and wondering why other tweets, including a message from an avowed anti-fascist group, hadn’t been labeled by Twitter as glorifying violence.

That tweet, from something called the Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club, @PugetSoundJBGC, reads, “All across the country, police are running out of crowd control ammunition and getting surrounded by protesters who outnumber them in magnitudes. Those police are finding out that there's a lot more of us than there are of them. Imagine if we were all armed.”

Last week, in an installment of his new podcast, “Hot Takes with Matt Gaetz, the congressman announced that he was working on legislation that would remove liability protections afforded to Twitter and other social media platforms under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Broadly, Section 230 exempts those channels from liability under the argument that they are merely platforms, and not publishers, of the material that appears on them.

”I am currently working with my Republican colleagues on the (House) Judiciary Committee to draft legislation to say that if you are going to opine to the truth or falsity of that which is put on your platform for the sake of its viewers, you do not get the protections of Section 230,“ Gaetz said. ”You are not a platform. You are doing something else. You are editorializing.”