Twitter adds rules violation label to Trump tweet on mail drop boxes
Twitter said Sunday that it added a label to a tweet shared by President Trump because it promoted misleading claims that “could potentially dissuade people from participation in voting,” marking the second instance in which the social media company has taken action on election-related posts shared by the president.
Trump earlier Sunday shared a tweet in which he falsely claimed that mail drop boxes used for the upcoming election could lead to fraud. The president said drop boxes could allow people to vote multiple times and suggested they were not “Covid sanitized.”
The tweet now includes a label saying the post “violated Twitter Rules about civic and election integrity.” The tweet will remain accessible because Twitter determined that it “may be in the public’s interest,” the company said.
“Per our policies, this Tweet will remain on the service given its relevance to ongoing public conversation,” Twitter said in a statement shared on its @TwitterSafety account. “Engagements with the Tweet will be limited. People will be able to Retweet with Comment, but not Like, Reply, or Retweet it.”
Per our policies, this Tweet will remain on the service given its relevance to ongoing public conversation. Engagements with the Tweet will be limited. People will be able to Retweet with Comment, but not Like, Reply, or Retweet it. pic.twitter.com/USuaRr5ING
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) August 23, 2020
Twitter’s policies note the company considers tweets to be in the public interest if they directly contribute to “understanding or discussion of a matter of public concern.” The public interest exemption only applies to elected government officials.
Twitter and other social media platforms have faced increased scrutiny in the run-up to the 2020 election over how they are combating misinformation online. Twitter has moved forward with one of the more restrictive approaches and has taken action on multiple of the president’s posts.
In late May, the company added fact-check labels to a pair of tweets Trump shared about mail-in voting, representing the first time the company took such a step. Twitter said at the time the decision was made because Trump’s tweets contained “potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots.”
Trump and Republican lawmakers decried the move as evidence of bias from the tech company. Just days later, Trump signed an executive order targeting protections offered to social media platforms under the Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The section of the law shields platforms from facing liability for the content posted by its users and the good-faith efforts they make to moderate it.
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.
Tech platforms have deployed a range of responses when it comes to content shared by the president and other lawmakers. In contrast to Twitter, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has voiced concerns about fact-checking politicians.
In June, however, Zuckerberg announced a new policy in which the company would label but leave up “newsworthy” posts that violate company policies. Facebook also now adds labels pointing people to more information on any post about voting shared by politicians.
Trump shared the same message about mail drop boxes on Facebook. The post includes an attachment directing users to Facebook’s new voter information center that was launched earlier this month.
Facebook and Twitter in early August blocked a video shared by the Trump campaign in which the president claimed children were immune to the coronavirus. The post represented a violation of their policies on coronavirus misinformation, the companies said.
Updated at 2:29 p.m.
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