Donald J. Trump said that he, as President of the United States of America, will shut down social media platforms, or at least regulate them heavily, after Twitter started fact checking his tweets. Yesterday, Twitter had appended a warning label to his tweets because of factual inaccuracy and false claims.
The whole story started when Trump made a tweet about mail in ballots, saying “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!”
Seeing how the statement did not stand the test of fact checking, Twitter attached a link to the tweets. Clicking the link would open a new tab, with an article titled “Trump makes unsubstantiated claim that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud.” In the article, the company claims that Trump’s allegations were false, and fact checkers could not find evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud.
To this, Trump replied by saying, “@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,” adding that “Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!”
Now, Trump threatened “social media companies”, while referring to Twitter and said that the Republican party feels that these platforms silence the conservatives’ voice. He added, “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.”
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….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2020
Now, there is no evidence that the President can even do such a thing. Social Media platforms like Twitter are run by publicly traded companies and used by billions of people all over the world, and hence taking them down completely won’t be easy or practical.
Twitter did not take the link down, as misinformation does not go against the company’s policy. However, the platform has added fact checking links to “false news”, covering information about politics and voting as well.
Twitter’s shares fell 1.65% in early trading in New York after Trump’s tweet.