Twitter has yesterday in an unprecedented move, labelled two tweets from the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, as potentially misleading, incurring the wrath of the 45th president of one of the most influential countries of the world, who outrightly alleged that the social media platform is meddling in election. Twitter had yesterday flagged two tweets by the president, who is ever active on the platform engaging both supporters and critics, as inaccurate, warning readers and users to make more research on the issue of mail-in ballots. Trump has been feeding his followers and the general public the falsehood that the mail-in ballots would result to widespread voter fraud.
Trump tweeted: “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed. The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one. That will be followed up with professionals telling all of these people, many of whom have never even thought of voting before, how, and for whom, to vote. This will be a Rigged Election. No way!”
Twitter appended a message to the tweets in contention, with a message in tiny prints advising Twitter users to “Get the facts about mail-in ballots,” each of these messages linking to a curated fact-check page that the platform had created, which is filled with additional links and summaries of news articles debunking the assertion that mail-in ballots lead to widespread voter fraud.
Twitter introduced the measure not long ago, to curb misinformation and disputed or unverified claims.
According to Twitter, the rationale is to offer “context” around Trump’s remarks. But this unprecedented action is bringing up more questions regarding Twitter’s desire to consistently apply the label to other tweets by Trump that have been exposed to be misleading by third parties. One of such is the president’s baseless allegations against former Rep. Joe Scarborough regarding the death of a congressional staffer, Lori Klausutis, far back in 2001. Trump made up a conspiracy theory claiming that Scarborough had a hand in the death of the woman. Trump has no evidence in this regard but has continually used this allegation to smear the person of Scarborough. Official autopsy showed that Lori Klausutis had a heart condition that was not diagnosed. Her husband had written to Twitter’s Jack Dorsey to pull down the tweets posted by Trump about his wife and Scarborough. The letter was made public yesterday.
Mr Timothy Klausutis said in the letter, “I’m asking you to intervene in this instance because the President of the United States has taken something that does not belong to him — the memory of my dead wife — and perverted it for perceived political gain.”
According to Twitter, Trump’s tweets about mail-in voting did not violate the company’s rules because they don’t explicitly discourage people from voting. However, the label offers context to Trump’s claims.
“These tweets contain potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots,” Twitter spokesperson Katie Rosborough told CNN Business in an email. “This decision is in line with the approach we shared earlier this month.”
Trump took to Twitter to claim the company is “interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election” and “stifling FREE SPEECH.” Continuing that he “will not allow it to happen!”