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Facebook Issues Pop-Up Warning to Users Following Trump COVID Diagnosis

Tech companies are now telling users that their platforms will crack down on posts publicly wishing for President Donald Trump’s death.

And that appears to have Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York upset.

The president announced early Friday that he and his wife, Melania, have been infected with the coronavirus. President Trump is currently staying at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“Content that wishes, hopes or expresses a desire for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against an individual is against our rules,” Twitter said in a statement to Vice.

Twitter said it “won’t take enforcement action on every Tweet. We’re prioritizing the removal of content when it has a clear call to action that could potentially cause real-world harm.”

Users who breaks Twitter’s rules on wishing for Trump’s death will have to remove the tweets and could have their accounts put in read-only mode, Twitter told Vice

The company added in a post from its public relations account: “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.”

Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow “squad” member, Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, indicated that Twitter’s policies are not fair.

“So… you mean to tell us you could’ve done this the whole time?” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

“Seriously though, this is messed up. The death threats towards us should have been taking more seriously by @TwitterComms,” Tlaib added.

According to Vice, Facebook says it “distinguish[es] between public figures and private individuals because we want to allow discussion, which often includes critical commentary of people who are featured in the news or who have a large public audience. For public figures, we remove attacks that are severe as well as certain attacks where the public figure is directly tagged in the post or comment.”

In interpreting that, Vice wrote: “What this means is that it’s OK to post on Facebook that you hope Trump dies, so long as you do not tag him in the post or ‘purposefully expose’ him to ‘calls for death, serious disease, epidemic disease, or disability.’”

Facebook spokeswoman Liz Bourgeois later said the company would in fact pull down posts wishing for Trump’s death.

“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 tweeted.

A TikTok spokesperson, meanwhile, told NPR that publicly hoping for the president to die “would be a violation of our community guidelines and removed if we find that.”

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