Social networking site Twitter has for the first time fact-checked the US President Donald Trump, a prolific user of tweets, and discovered what many have claimed for numerous months.
Twitter, whose CEO is Jack Dorsey, identified two tweets from Donald Trump making false statements about mail-in voting as “potentially misleading”.
Twitter has added to Trump’s tweets a message the social networking site has introduced to combat misinformation and disputed or unverified claims.
“Get the facts about mail-in ballots,” it reads beneath each tweet. The messages linked to a curated fact-check page the platform had created filled with further links and summaries of news articles debunking the US President’s assertion.
At the top of the fact-check page, Twitter writes “Trump falsely claimed that mail-in ballots would lead to ‘a Rigged Election’. However, fact-checkers say there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud”.
Donald Trump immediately fired back, stating Twitter “is interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election” and “stifling FREE SPEECH”.
The US President added that he “will not allow it to happen!”
….Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020
Trump’s two tweets, posted on Tuesday morning, claimed that “mail-in ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent” and would result in “a rigged election”. The tweets focused primarily on California’s efforts to increase mail-in voting due to the rising numbers of COVID-19 infections. The Republican National Committee sued California Governor Gavin Newsom over the state’s moves to expand mail-in voting on Sunday.
Twitter said the move is in line with a new policy introduced earlier this month aimed at limiting “the spread of potentially harmful and misleading content” related to the pandemic. However, Trump’s tweets about mail-in voting did not violate the company’s rules because they don’t explicitly discourage people from voting. Twitter said the label offers context surrounding Trump’s claims.
“These Tweets contain potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots,” company spokesperson Katie Rosborough told CNN in an email. “This decision is in line with the approach we shared earlier this month.”
Rosborough confirmed that this marks the first instances in which Twitter has labeled any Trump tweet as potentially misleading.