Twitter’s move to kick Carpe Donktum off the platform Tuesday came just days after a video from the account — tweeted by Trump — was pulled after a copyright complaint from the original video’s owner. The doctored video of a pair of 2-year-olds in New York was faked to appear as if it had aired on CNN, with fake chyrons reading “Terrified Todler [sic] Runs From Racist Baby” and “Racist Baby Probably a Trump Voter.” The father of one of the boys, whose viral video was featured in a CNN story last year, filed a DMCA takedown notice over the Carpe Donktum meme.
In a statement about banning Carpe Donktum, which had more than 270,000 followers, Twitter said, “Per our copyright policy, we respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives. The account was permanently suspended for repeated violations of this policy.”
Twitter previously had removed several Carpe Donktum videos after receiving DMCA takedown notices for copyright infringement, including one shared by Trump in February 2019 lampooning congressional Democrats during the president’s State of the Union speech that included R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts.”
The proprietor of Carpe Donktum, whose real name is Logan Cook, in an online post claimed that he has “always complied with DMCA takedown rules.” He also urged followers to support him and protest Twitter’s ban of Carpe Donktum.
“I have been banned for being effective and they won’t even look me in the eye as they do it,” the right-wing meme creator wrote. “If you would like to support me, make noise, the only thing these people respond to is public outcry.” Cook describes himself as a “Sarcastic Memesmith specializing in the creation of memes to support President Donald J. Trump.”
Last October, Carpe Donktum was temporarily suspended by Twitter after a video shared on his MemeWorld website showed Trump’s head superimposed on Colin Firth’s character in the “Kingsman: The Secret Service” gunning down members of the media. (Cook defended the video as “CLEARLY satirical” and asserted that MemeWorld was not advocating violence.)
In July 2019, Cook met with Trump at the White House’s social-media summit, where the president referred to him as a “genius,” the Washington Post reported.
Meanwhile, Carpe Donktum accounts remain active on Facebook and Instagram (although Facebook, like Twitter, removed the meme-maker’s “racist baby” video with the faked CNN chyrons).
In recent weeks, Donald Trump’s activity on social media has increasingly pushed Twitter and Facebook to confront how they deal with content posted by the U.S. president that violates their policies.
On Tuesday, Twitter hid a Trump tweet threatening to meet protesters with “serious force!”, just weeks after similarly flagging a post in which he wrote about protesters in Minneapolis, “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!” Last week Facebook pulled Trump 2020 campaign ads with Nazi symbols for violating its policy banning “organized hate.”
Trump and right-wing politicians have repeatedly alleged that internet companies exhibit an anti-conservative bias in their policies and practices. But on Facebook, data shows that six of the top 10 political publishers with the highest engagement on the platform are conservative outlets, as CNN reported last month. Trump last month issued an executive order seeking to roll back legal protections of social-media companies if they “censor” political speech; the president was sued by a tech policy group, which alleged the order is unconstitutional.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Cook had created a new Twitter account (@CarpeDonkutm) after the social network banned @CarpeDonktum. Cook said he is not the creator of @CarpeDonkutm and said he will not be creating a new account on Twitter, according to a post on his Instagram account.