Twitter flagged tweets from President Donald Trump as “potentially misleading” for the first time on Tuesday.

The social media site highlighted two of Trump’s tweets which claimed shifting to mail-in ballots would increase voter fraud. A message below the tweets reading, “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” links to a curated fact-check page with links and excerpts from news articles contradicting his claim.

“There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent,” Trump wrote in a tweet that was flagged as misleading. “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!”

While experts largely agree that mail-in ballots do carry a slightly higher rate of fraud than in-person voting, Trump’s claim about mail-in voting being extremely fraudulent is exaggerated. If anything, vote-by-mail has helped Republicans — both in Florida and in California. Trump himself evens votes by mail in Florida.

Trump’s tweets come at a moment of uncertainty for the electoral process, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to prompt states to readjust their voting systems to accommodate social distancing guidelines and statewide stay-at-home orders.

After the labels were added, Trump criticized the company for meddling in the 2020 presidential election, adding that he “will not allow it to happen!”

Twitter said Tuesday that Trump’s tweets did not violate the company’s rules since they did not explicitly discourage people from voting, but said that the label provides additional context.

Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted an explanation of the company’s decision on Wednesday, saying the tweets “may mislead people into thinking they don’t need to register to get a ballot.”

Only registered voters will receive mail-in ballots.

“Fact check: there is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that’s me. Please leave our employees out of this,” Dorsey wrote. “We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make.”

He continued: “This does not make us an “arbiter of truth.” Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves. More transparency from us is critical so folks can clearly see the why behind our actions.”

“Per our Civic Integrity policy, the tweets yesterday may mislead people into thinking they don’t need to register to get a ballot (only registered voters receive ballots),” Dorsey said.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-New York) responded to Dorsey’s tweets saying, “This makes YOU accountable for allowing the Chinese Communist Party to abuse this site with misinformation & propaganda spread across the globe – all while the CCP bans and suppresses their own people from using Twitter!”

Twitter, which had existed with little censorship for years, has struggled to find a balance as its site continues to feed conspiracy theories and false information. After the flag was added to Trump’s tweets, many accused Twitter of censorship while others said the warnings did not go far enough.


Read more about:

Get the free uPolitics mobile app for the latest political news and videos

iPhone Android

Leave a comment