Twitter, Facebook Say They Will Remove Posts Hoping for Trump's Death

Twitter, Facebook Say They Will Remove Posts Hoping for Trump's Death
President Donald Trump leaves the White House for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, on Oct. 2, 2020. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

Twitter and Facebook said late Friday they would remove posts that wish or hope for President Donald Trump's death.

Trump, 74, was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Thursday and traveled to a medical center in Maryland the following day for treatment, including remdesivir, an anti-viral drug.

"Tweets that wish or hope for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against *anyone* are not allowed and will need to be removed. This does not automatically mean suspension," Twitter said in a statement in response to a post that said the platform would suspend people who tweet that they hope Trump dies.

Posts wishing for Trump's death quickly piled up on Twitter following Trump's diagnosis.

Zara Rahim, a former spokeswoman for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, said in a tweet, “It has been against my moral identity to tweet this for the past four years, but I hope he dies.”

Rahim worked in the Obama administration before being employed by Clinton's campaign.

Steve Cox, an independent candidate running for a House of Representatives seat representing California's 39th District, also wrote that he hoped "they both die." He later said he was referring to Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, not Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.

Facebook spokeswoman Liz Bourgeois said the tech giant would also moderate death wishes or threats against Trump.

"To be clear, Facebook is removing death threats or content targeted directly at the president that wishes him death, including comments on his posts or his page—in addition to content tagging him," she said in a statement.

Social media platforms are largely shielded from liability for what their users post under Section 230 of the Decency in Communications Act, which Republicans and Trump's administration are increasingly pushing to alter.
The CEOs of Twitter and Facebook face subpoenas from a Senate panel in part because senators want to question them about their moderation practices.