Twitter Temporarily Freezes Former Sheriff David Clarke's Account Over Anti-Media Tweets
The move appears to be part of the tech giant's efforts to crack down on violence, hate speech and other abuse on its platform.
Twitter temporarily froze the account belonging to former Milwaukee Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr., following a series of tweets that incited violence against the media.
According to a Tuesday report from CNN, Clarke, a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, violated Twitter's terms of service when he tweeted, "When LYING LIB MEDIA makes up MAKE NEWS to smear me, the ANTIDOTE is to go right at them. Punch them in the nose & MAKE THEM TASTE THEIR OWN BLOOD. Nothing gets a bully like LYING LIB MEDIA"S attention better than to give them a taste of their own blood #neverbackdown."
Clarke's account was not taken down, but he was barred from tweeting during that time. The tweet and two others have since been deleted and Clarke's account is now fully restored. At 10:12 a.m. PT on Tuesday, he tweeted, "I will NOT be Intimidated into silence by LYING LIB MEDIA."
I will NOT be Intimidated into silence by LYING LIB MEDIA. I will NOT be intimidated by LIBERAL hyper partisan government HACKS who weaponize government authorirty to go after people whose views they don't like. I will STAND AND FIGHT for TRUTH & what I believe is RIGHT. JOIN ME. pic.twitter.com/8yLEQvRSpX— David A. Clarke, Jr. (@SheriffClarke) January 2, 2018
Twitter can temporarily suspend an account holder from tweeting for a variety of reasons, including over spam, a security breach or abusive behavior. In the case of Clarke, it appears the suspension occurred in response to complaints over his violent anti-media rhetoric. CNN reports that a Twitter user who complained about Clarke's tweets received a message from Twitter that reads, "We have reviewed the account you reported and have locked it because we found it to be in violation of the Twitter Rules... If the account owner complies with our requested actions and stated policies, the account will be unlocked."
A member of Clarke's team tells The Hollywood Reporter that no tweets were required to be removed, though the tweets that CNN references in its report are no longer visible on the service. "The Sheriff is unavailable at the moment but it appears the account was momentarily locked but it has since been restored and no tweets were required to be removed," reads an email response to a request for comment. "His tweets today are evidence the account is working without restriction. Must be just another fake news story..."
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment. The move appears to be part of the San Francisco company's efforts to crack down on violence, hate speech and other abuse on its platform. The initial implementation of the more specific rules in December resulted in the suspension of several alt-right accounts.