Today, on the biggest day in American politics, Twitter and Facebook have flagged U.S President Donald Trump’s posts for misinformation, once again. The posts claimed that the opposing party is “trying to STEAL the Election,” and “votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed.” The president’s posts were similarly flagged and restricted for the same reason just a day before the U.S Presidential Elections.
We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 4, 2020
Trump, in his post, appears to be suggesting chances of foul-play, and is questioning the integrity of the mail-in ballots as he has done in the past, and again, without providing any substantial evidence. The last part of the president’s tweet appears to be a reference to the recent U.S Supreme Court decision to allow the extension of the deadlines for receiving mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
Twitter, just like before, quickly flagged and hid the tweet behind the message “some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.” The users see this message first and then have to click on “view” to display the actual tweet. Since the tweet has been flagged, users can only retweet with a quote. Regular retweets, likes and comments have been disabled.
Twitter explained its actions in a tweet saying:
We placed a warning on a Tweet from @realDonaldTrump for making a potentially misleading claim about an election. This action is in line with our Civic Integrity Policy. More here: https://t.co/k6OkjNXEAm
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) November 4, 2020
A label with a clickable link was added to Trump’s post on Facebook with the same content, which reads “final results may be different from initial vote counts, as ballot counting will continue for days or weeks.”
Another one of Trump’s recent posts on Facebook received the same treatment. The post read, “I will be making a statement tonight. A big WIN!” This post was flagged because of the claim of premature victory .
The president has a long history of spreading misinformation through his social media handles, which the platforms have repeatedly flagged and restricted. Experts fear that his baseless claims of a compromised voting system can lead to social unrest and can threaten democracy. Twitter, in its new policies, have said that it will flag or remove posts on its platform that incite unlawful behavior and “threaten peaceful transfer of power or orderly succession”.
As of now, the counting of the 2020 U.S Presidential Election votes is still underway. A high number of mail-in votes are expected due to the circumstances the pandemic has created. The social media giants are being extra cautious to avoid the spread of misinformation; something that they have been deeply criticized for after the previous presidential election. The companies have set up several policies in place to guide them in taking actions against misinformation, such as the Civic Integrity Policy which Twitter cited while explaining its actions today.