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Twitter Temporarily Locked Sheriff David Clarke's Account Over A Violent Tweet

The top Trump supporter and former Milwaukee sheriff got sent to Twitter time-out.

Posted on January 2, 2018, at 5:02 p.m. ET

Mike Theiler / AFP / Getty Images

Twitter temporarily locked the account of prominent Trump supporter and former Milwaukee sheriff David Clarke after Clarke encouraged violence on the platform, breaking Twitter's rules.

The lock put Clarke's account in read-only mode, preventing him from basic activities such as tweeting and retweeting. He could, however, read tweets and send direct messages to people who followed him. CNN first reported the news.

Clarke regained full access to his account only after deleting three offending tweets, including one encouraging his followers to hit the "LYING LIB MEDIA" in the face.

"Punch them in the nose & MAKE THEM TASTE THEIR OWN BLOOD," Clarke tweeted Saturday, providing no evidence of lies. He attached an image of two wrestlers beating up another that was labeled "CNN." Clarke's and President Trump's faces were superimposed on the wrestlers delivering the beatdown.

A Twitter user reported the tweet, and the company then locked Clarke's account as a result, according to an email sent to the user. A Twitter spokesperson confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the email is authentic.

"We have reviewed the account you reported and have locked it because we found it to be in violation of the Twitter Rules:," the email said. "If the account owner complies with our requested actions and stated policies, the account will be unlocked."

Clarke responded to the account lock Tuesday morning. "I will NOT be Intimidated into silence by LYING LIB MEDIA," he said.

I will NOT be Intimidated into silence by LYING LIB MEDIA. I will NOT be intimidated by LIBERAL hyper partisan gove…

@SheriffClarke / Twitter

Social media companies are currently under immense pressure to regulate themselves after their mishandling of the Kremlin-sponsored campaign that used their platforms to sow discord before and after the US presidential election. These companies have also struggled to come up with a solution for the fake news and abuse that flourishes on their products. As a result, they're becoming more interventionist. Facebook is in the process of hiring 4,000 moderators, for instance, and Twitter took the rare step of publishing its road map to tackle abuse.

The platforms' increasing willingness to intervene is long overdue, but it will also add to a host of dilemmas, including when it's appropriate to regulate political speech like Clarke's.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.