Thu | Jul 16, 2020

In a first, Twitter adds fact-check warnings to Trump tweets

Published:Wednesday | May 27, 2020 | 9:42 AM
President Donald Trump speaks during a Memorial Day ceremony at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, Monday, May 25, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

For the first time, Twitter has flagged some of President Donald Trump’s tweets with a fact-check warning.

On Tuesday, Twitter added a warning phrase to two Trump tweets that called mail-in ballots “fraudulent” and predicted that “mail boxes will be robbed,” among other things.

Under the tweets, there is now a link reading “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” that guides users to a Twitter “moments” page with fact checks and news stories about Trump’s unsubstantiated claims.

Until now, the president has simply blown past Twitter’s half-hearted attempts to enforce rules intended to promote civility and “healthy” conversation on its most prominent user.

Trump frequently amplifies misinformation, spreads abuse and uses his pulpit to personally attack private citizens and public figures alike — all forbidden under Twitter’s official rules.

In a statement, Twitter said Trump’s vote-by-mail tweets “contain potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labelled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots.”

Trump has never previously faced Twitter sanctions on his account.

The husband of a woman who died by accident two decades ago in an office of then-GOP Joe Scarborough recently demanded that Twitter remove the president’s baseless tweets suggesting that Scarborough, now a fierce Trump critic, killed her.

Twitter issued a statement expressing its regret to the husband but so far has taken no action on those tweets.

Over the weekend, the president issued several tweets calling into question the legality of mail-in-ballots.

The storm of tweets followed Facebook and Twitter posts from Trump last week that wrongly claimed Michigan’s secretary of state mailed ballots to 7.7 million registered voters.

Trump later deleted the tweet and posted an edited version that still threatened to hold up federal funds.

Twitter policy forbids sharing “false or misleading information intended to intimidate or dissuade people from participating in an election or other civic process.”

While it has previously flagged tweets conveying misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, it has never before put warnings on tweets for any other reason.

Trump replied on Twitter, accusing the platform of “interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election” and insisting that “as president, I will not allow this to happen.”

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com