Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Google and Snapchat are asked for stronger policies by the U.S. Government.

DHS-Social-Media-First Amendment
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The takeaways

  • The United States Department of Homeland Security wrote to the CEOs of five of the world’s leading tech companies asking them to ensure social media platforms aren’t used to incite violence.
  • The development follows increased scrutiny of insightful and racist social media content, and the global anti-racist protests that have followed the death of George Floyd.
  • The Trump administration has targeted both social media platforms and anti-racism protestors based on the sharing of views and content.

What happened?

Reuters reported that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security wrote a letter to the chief executives of leading tech companies Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, asking that they ensure their platforms are not used to incite violence in the wake of nationwide protests following George Floyd’s death. The letter, written by Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, was issued on June 25.

Though the DHS upholds the right to free expression of U.S. citizens under the First Amendment, they warned against the “misuse” of social media for criminal purposes, which Wolf described as a threat to national security. He urged the CEOs “to do your part to put an end to violence and illegal activity… by ensuring that your platforms are not used as a tool to organize, facilitate, or incite dangerous or deadly riots.”

What are the details?

Wolf appealed to the tech companies to curb the spread of information on breaking city curfews, the targeted looting of stores and neighborhoods, and the coordination of attacks against certain people and groups. The letter arrives following the  targeting of anti-racism protestors for vandalizing monuments and statues by the administration of President Donald Trump.

Reuters reported that Twitter will respond to the letter. Google did not immediately respond, while Facebook, Apple and Snapchat have not yet commented. Previously, Twitter has applied warning labels to President Trump’s tweets, while earlier this month Snapchat stopped promoting the President’s account on its Discover page after he made threatening statements against White House protesters.

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