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Twitter took down accounts posting BET Awards content

Twitter is among the Silicon Valley companies that claim to take free speech seriously, but like other platforms with close ties to content companies, it’s very touchy about alleged copyright violations.

New evidence of this: A number of prominent music journalism and black culture publications had their Twitter accounts taken down on Tuesday because of alleged issues related to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The music magazine The FADER and the hip-hop blog Pigeons & Planes were affected, as were the websites 2DopeBoyz and Hip Hop n More.


Sources at multiple publications say that at least some of the takedowns were related to content from the BET Awards, and came at the behest of Viacom, BET’s parent company. The editor of one publication confirmed this to VICE News, and there’s evidence of Viacom’s request — including a specific takedown request from Viacom to Twitter that includes tweets from the FADER and Pigeons & Planes — on Lumen, a searchable database of DMCA-related actions.

“We’re taking the steps to get it back through Twitter. I also reached out to Viacom to see if they could retract, but I got no response,” said Pigeons & Planes editor-in-chief Jacob Moore. Pigeons & Planes is owned by Complex Media. A representative for the FADER did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Twitter spokesperson Siobhan Murphy said in an email that the company “does not comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons.” In the past, Twitter has taken a similarly hard-line stance on alleged copyright infringe related to GIFs of sporting events.

This includes takedowns of an account dedicated to showing GIFs of World Cup goals, and of major sports news websites like SB Nation and Deadspin for showing GIFs of NFL and college football games.

Viacom did not immediately respond to a request for comment.