Facebook Yanks Donald Trump Campaign’s George Floyd Video Over Copyright Complaint, Following Twitter

Todd Spangler

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Facebook, like Twitter, has pulled down videos centered on the killing of George Floyd uploaded by Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, after Facebook received a copyright-infringement claim on content in the segment.

The social-media giant removed the campaign video — in which Trump condemns both Floyd’s death and the resulting protests and rioting across the U.S. — from both Facebook and Instagram on Friday. That came after the copyright owner of an image in the Trump video notified Facebook of the infringement.

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“We received a copyright complaint from the creator under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and have removed the post,” a Facebook spokesman said. “Organizations that use original art shared on Instagram are expected to have the right to do so.” The spokesman was unable to provide information on who filed the DMCA takedown notice.

For now, YouTube is still hosting a copy of the video, which has accumulated more than 330,000 views since it was posted June 3. Twitter yanked the copyright-infringing Trump video on Thursday.

The Trump campaign video in question, titled “Healing, Not Hatred,” includes images of Floyd, and video and images showing memorials to the dead man — including the mural in Minneapolis painted on the side of a grocery store near where Floyd was killed by city police. That mural was created by a group of community artists including Xena Goldman, Cadex Herrera, and Greta McLain.

Trump’s video also shows crowds of protesters and rioters, and people affected by the disturbances. A voiceover by Trump, from a recent speech, provides the narration in the video. “The memory of George Floyd is being dishonored by rioters, looters and anarchists,” Trump says.

While Facebook pulled down the infringing Trump 2020 campaign video, the company has drawn criticism — including from its own employees — for deciding to take no action on a Trump post from last week in which the president said about protests in Minneapolis, “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously said the “looting and shooting” post didn’t violate Facebook’s policies forbidding incitement of violence, and he’s said the company does not want to “do fact-checks for politicians.”

That stands in contrast to Twitter’s approach, which hid the Trump tweet for violating its policy glorifying violence. Trump, upset over Twitter’s fact-checking of two inaccurate tweets about mail-in ballots, last week issued an executive order aiming to strip Twitter’s legal immunity covering speech on its platform. This week, a tech policy organization sued Trump over the order, arguing that it violates the First Amendment.

In a memo to staff Friday that Zuckerberg posted on Facebook, the CEO acknowledged that backlash and outlined seven areas Facebook is investigating for how it might potentially change how it deals with controversial content. Those will cover three areas: ideas related to specific policies; ideas related to decision-making; and “proactive initiatives” to advance racial justice and voter engagement.

Specifically relating to situations like Trump’s post with “looting and shooting” comment, Zuckerberg said, “We’re going to review potential options for handling violating or partially-violating content aside from the binary leave-it-up or take-it-down decisions. But, he added, “In general, I worry that this approach has a risk of leading us to editorialize on content we don’t like even if it doesn’t violate our policies, so I think we need to proceed very carefully.”

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