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Twitter employee reveals Trump tweets incited Capitol Hill violence

San Francisco, July 13 (IANS) Former US President Donald Trump incited the violence at the Capitol Hill on January 6 by his tweets last year, a former Twitter employee who worked in the content moderation team has told the congressional investigators in a testimony.

Twitter later permanently suspended Trump’s account due to the risk of further incitement of violence, which is still banned.

The Verge reported late on Tuesday that the employee, whose identity remains anonymous, pointed to a December 19th tweet from Trump, which asked his supporters to join him in “protest” of the 2020 election results.

“Be there. Will be wild,” the tweet read.

According to the Twitter employee, this particular tweet was seen by several people within Twitter as “directly responsible for the violence that followed, which left five dead and has resulted in more than 700 arrests,” the report mentioned.

The employee told the January 6th committee that Twitter was wary of the former president’s presence on the platform as early as September 2020 when Trump urged members of the violent far-right extremist group, the Proud Boys, to “stand back and stand by”.

“My concern was that the former president, for seemingly the first time, was speaking directly to extremist organisations and giving them directives,” the employee told the investigators.

If Trump were any other user on Twitter, “he would have been permanently suspended a very long time ago,” the employee told investigators.

Dr Donell Harvin, chief of Homeland Security for Washington, DC, said in his testimony that “we got derogatory information from OSINT (open source intelligence) suggesting that some very, very violent individuals were organising to come to DC”.

A Twitter spokesperson said that they are “clear-eyed about our role in the broader information ecosystem in regards to the January 6th attack on the US Capitol.”

“On January 6th, we leveraged the systems we had built leading up to the election to respond to the unprecedented attack in real-time and are committed to iterating on this work in order to address violent extremism in the US and globally,” the company spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Trump was banned from Twitter two days after the storming of the Capitol Hill.

While suspending his account, Twitter had made it clear that such high-profile accounts “are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things”.

–IANS

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