The tweet was hidden by the social media company because it violated its policy against abusive behaviour.

This illustration photo shows a woman in Los Angeles looking at the official Twitter account of US President Donald Trump on June 23, 2020, with a tweet by the president which Twitter considered
This illustration photo shows a woman in Los Angeles looking at the official Twitter account of US President Donald Trump on June 23, 2020, with a tweet by the president which Twitter considered "abusive" and hid it. (AFP)

Twitter on Tuesday hid a tweet from President Donald Trump in which he threatened to use "serious force" against protestors in the US capital, saying it broke rules over abusive content.

The move appeared to be the first by Twitter against the president for an "abusive" tweet. In a growing dispute, the platform has recently labeled other Trump tweets as misleading and violating its standards on promoting violence.

"There will never be an 'Autonomous Zone' in Washington, DC, as long as I'm your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!" Trump tweeted.

A Twitter spokeswoman said teams within the company's safety division informed Chief Executive Jack Dorsey of the decision before applying the notice.

Facebook, which has taken a more hands-off approach to speech by political leaders, left the same post untouched.

At least 150,000 people had liked Trump's tweet and 33,000 retweeted it before Twitter restricted engagement, according to the most recent image captured by the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. His post on Facebook received 12,000 comments.

'Abusive behaviour'

The action by Twitter requires users to click through to read the Trump tweet, with a tag on the message that it "violated the Twitter rules about abusive behaviour" but that it would remain accessible "in the public's interest."

Trump's tweet referred to the police-free district created by protesters in Seattle, in Washington state, two weeks ago, which has sparked outrage among conservatives.

Twitter's move escalated the battle between the White House and social media firms which Trump has accused of bias against conservatives, despite his own large following.

The president has already signed an executive order which could lead to more government oversight of social media firms, despite doubts about its legal authority.

READ MORE: Twitter attaches disclaimer to Trump's tweet for 'glorifying violence'

Immunity? 

The Trump administration has also signalled it wants to overhaul a law that gives online services immunity from content posted by others, a move which could open the floodgates to litigation.

Twitter said in a statement to AFP it took the action on Tuesday because the tweet violated its policy against abusive behaviour with "a threat of harm against an identifiable group."

Twitter's policy in dealing with world leaders in most cases calls for violating messages to be labeled – which limits its reach and prevents others from liking or retweeting it – but leaves the tweets available because if they relate to "ongoing matters of public importance."

The new, aggressive stand by Twitter on rule-breaking by the president stands in contrast with Facebook, which has maintained a largely hands-off policy despite pressure from activists to curb inflammatory content.

Facebook did remove a Trump ad last week that contained a symbol used in Nazi Germany for political prisoners, saying it violated the platform's policy against "organised hate."

READ MORE: Facebook in turmoil over refusal to police Trump's posts

Source: TRTWorld and agencies