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Twitch suspends Trump for 'hateful conduct' violations

Paul Best

Amazon's popular livestreaming platform Twitch suspended President Trump’s campaign account Monday due to two violations of its “hateful conduct” policy.

“Hateful conduct is not allowed on Twitch,” a Twitch spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement. “In line with our policies, President Trump’s channel has been issued a temporary suspension from Twitch for comments made on stream, and the offending content has been removed.”

Twitch says it has a zero-tolerance policy for hateful conduct, which it describes as “any content or activity that promotes, encourages, or facilitates discrimination, denigration, objectification, harassment, or violence based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability or serious medical condition or veteran status.”

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The first incident that Twitch cites was a recent rebroadcast of Trump's 2016 campaign’s kickoff.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best," Trump said in June 2015. "They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

The second incident occurred at Trump’s rally on June 20, 2020, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was his first time back on the campaign trail since the coronavirus pandemic started.

“Hey, it’s 1 o’clock in the morning and a very tough, I’ve used the word on occasion, hombre, a very tough hombre is breaking into the window of a young woman whose husband is away as a traveling salesman or whatever he may do," he said. "And you call 911 and they say, ‘I’m sorry, this number’s no longer working.’ By the way, you have many cases like that, many, many, many. Whether it’s a young woman, an old woman, a young man or an old man and you’re sleeping."

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Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Twitch also said that it told Trump’s team last year when it first created a Twitch account, “Like anyone else, politicians on Twitch must adhere to our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. We do not make exceptions for political or newsworthy content, and will take action on content reported to us that violates our rules.”

This is different from the approach other social media platforms have taken in dealing with content by the president.

Twitter has decided to leave up Trump’s content that violates its policies but mark it with a “public interest notice” so users know it violates the platform's terms of service. The platform has flagged multiple tweets by Trump in the last few weeks, most recently when he tweeted that if anyone tries to establish an “autonomous zone” in Washington, D.C., they will be met with “serious force.”

Facebook is facing an advertiser boycott as activists have accused it of leaving up hateful content. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Friday that it will start flagging content that violates its policies if “the public interest value outweighs the risk of harm.”

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“Often, seeing speech from politicians is in the public interest, and in the same way that news outlets will report what a politician says, we think people should generally be able to see it for themselves on our platforms,” Zuckerberg wrote Friday. “We will soon start labeling some of the content we leave up because it is deemed newsworthy, so people can know when this is the case.”

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman announced Monday that it is banning about 2,000 subreddits due to violations of Reddit's policies, including popular pro-Trump forum /The_Donald, which had more than 790,000 users.

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Trump and other conservatives have accused social media companies of bias against them. The president signed an executive order on “preventing online censorship” last month.

Many of the president’s top staffers, including 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale and White House social media director Dan Scavino, have also been advocating for a new social media app called Parler. Founder and CEO John Matze Jr. said Monday that the app is approaching two million users already.

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