Twitter flags tweet from Rep. Matt Gaetz about wanting to 'hunt down' protesters, noting that it glorifies violence

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesU.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks to members of the media outside the hearing Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump, testifies at before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform at Rayburn House Office Building February 27, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
  • On Monday, Twitter flagged a tweet from Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida as “glorifying violence.”
  • The platform turned off replies and likes on a Monday message from Gaetz stating: “Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?”
  • The flagging of Gaetz’s tweet comes amid a broader push from Twitter to fact-check politicians’ tweets and crack down on those from public figures that violate the platform’s rules.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Twitter flagged a message from Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida about wanting to hunt down protesters as “glorifying violence” on Monday.

Gatez posted the tweet shortly before 2 p.m. on Monday, writing, “Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?

Twitter turned off replies and likes, and added a note that it violated the platform’s rules.

The flagging of Gaetz’s tweet comes amid a broader push from Twitter to fact-check politicians’ tweets and crack down on those from public figures that violate the platform’s rules.

Last week, Twitter similarly flagged a tweet from President Donald Trump as violating their rules against glorifying violence but added a notice stating they believed keeping the tweet available to view was “in the public interest” while disabling likes and replies.

Gaetz’s tweet was referring to claims from Trump and other Republican officials that Antifa and other left-wing groups are directly contributing to violence.

Over the weekend, Trump posted several tweets blaming “anarchists” and “Antifa” on the violence and looting accompanying protests against police brutality in several American cities. H also said that he would designate Antifa, which is not a hierarchical organisation but rather a broad, decentralized movement that resists white supremacy, a domestic terrorist group.

Experts, however, have said there is no legal mechanism for Trump to do so. As Business Insider noted on Sunday, the State Department has the authority to designate foreign organisations as terrorist groups, but there is no legal method to designate domestic actors as such.

Gaetz, a staunch Trump ally who has vocally criticised Twitter’s attempts to fact-check politicians, continued to defend his sentiment in a number of follow-up tweets.

“We hunt down terrorists in the Middle East by having our government (not vigilantes) monitor their communications, freeze their money and stop them from committing attacks,” he said. “American lives, businesses & property are more deserving of our strong protection than distant sand dunes.”

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