The pedestal where the statue of Confederate general Albert Pike remains empty after it was toppled by protesters at Judiciary square in Washington, DC on June 20, 2020
Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images
The Trump administration is pressuring social media outlets to take action against posts that encourage toppling statues and other "criminal activity" amid nationwide protests.
The Department of Homeland Security sent a series of letters to companies including Facebook, Apple, Google, Twitter, and Snapchat encouraging them to take action against such posts. Business Insider obtained copies of the letters, which were sent Friday.
The letters do not take issue with any specific posts, but claim that social media has encouraged "burglary, arson, aggravated assault, rioting, looting, and defacing public property."
As protests against police brutality and racism stretch into their fourth week across the US, the Trump administration is pressuring tech companies to take action against posts that encourage the toppling of statues, describing them as "criminal activity."
Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf sent letters to companies including Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Snapchat Friday. They claim that social media sites have enabled "burglary, arson, aggravated assault, rioting, looting, and defacing public property," according to copies of the letters obtained by Business Insider.
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"It is up to you to decide how to handle content on your platforms. I hope you will do your
part in countering the misuse of your platforms to promote, incite, and coordinate criminal activity
that threatens the security of all Americans," Wolf wrote in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Protesters have torn down or vandalized dozens of statues across the US in the past month. The majority of them were monuments to Confederate soldiers, which protesters see as a glorification of slavery.
The DHS letters to tech companies don't mention any specific posts, but rather ask the platforms to "put an end" to posts that encourage the vandalism. The letters were firstÂ reported by The Washington Post.
A Twitter spokesperson told Business Insider it received the letter and intends to respond, but did not comment further.
Representatives for Apple, Google, Facebook, and Snapchat did not respond to requests for comment.
President Donald Trump has railed against protesters over the past month, and has repeatedly clashed with tech companies in the process.
After Trump tweeted about protests that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," Twitter applied a disclaimer to his tweet stating that it broke Twitter's rules against glorifying violence, igniting more fury from the president. Twitter applied a similar label to a more recent Trump tweet threatening "serious force" against DC protesters.
More recently, Trump tweeted that he wants to imprison protesters for 10 years as punishment for destroying monuments.
Read the original article on Business Insider