Trump threatens to shut down social media after Twitter fact-check saga

  • Image: Twitter
Date:27 May 2020 Author: Imogen Searra

The President of the United States of America had one of his recent tweets fact-checked for the first time. Twitter labelled the tweet as “potentially misleading” which then resulted in Trump accusing the social media platform for election meddling, according to CNN.

Two of Trump’s tweets falsely claimed that voter fraud would be caused as a result of mail-in ballots on Tuesday [26 May]. Both tweets were flagged.

According to the BBC, one of the tweets read: “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent.”

Under each tweet, a message read “Get the facts about mail-in ballots”. This was a link to a detailed fact-checking page that Twitter has created and populated with news articles, links and summaries essentially quashing his statements.

In follow up tweets, Trump wrote: “@Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election. They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post….”

“…Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!” read the second tweet.

Today [27 May] Trump threatened to regulate or close down social media platforms. He wrote on Twitter:

“Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen. We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016. We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that….

“….happen again. Just like we can’t let large scale Mail-In Ballots take root in our Country. It would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots. Whoever cheated the most would win. Likewise, Social Media. Clean up your act, NOW!!!!”

Twitter introduced its new warning labels and fact-checking messages earlier in May, according to Technology Review.

Tweets containing false or misleading information will no longer go by idly. In a blog post, Twitter explained that the fact-checking policy had been setup to prevent false information from being spread about COVID-19.

“In serving the public conversation, our goal is to make it easy to find credible information on Twitter and to limit the spread of potentially harmful and misleading content. Starting today, we’re introducing new labels and warning messages that will provide additional context and information on some Tweets containing disputed or misleading information related to COVID-19.”

The statement goes on to say that there will be three categories in which false or misleading content will fall into:

-Misleading information — statements or assertions that have been confirmed to be false or misleading by subject-matter experts, such as public health authorities.

-Disputed claims — statements or assertions in which the accuracy, truthfulness, or credibility of the claim is contested or unknown.

-Unverified claims — information (which could be true or false) that is unconfirmed at the time it is shared.

Image: Twitter


“Our teams are using and improving on internal systems to proactively monitor content related to COVID-19. These systems help ensure we’re not amplifying Tweets with these warnings or labels and detecting the high-visibility content quickly. Additionally, we’ll continue to rely on trusted partners to identify content that is likely to result in offline harm. Given the dynamic situation, we will prioritise review and labelling of content that could lead to increased exposure or transmission,” continued the statement.

“Serving the public conversation remains our overarching mission, and we’ll keep working to build tools and offer context so that people can find credible and authentic information on Twitter,” the statement concluded.


Image: RealOhmidKhani/Twitter


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