Yesterday, we wrote about Twitter having issues labeling misinformation about the Coronavirus, the company later on yesterday announced that it had also labelled the US President’s tweet as containing “potentially misleading information about voting process” which was a rare move by the company considering the fact that the 20% public figures who spread misinformation on the platform are the cause of 69% of the conversations on the social media platform and this will in fact be the first time that Twitter will be displaying a label on the President Trump’s tweets.
The US President tweeted that “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-in Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent” which is a claim that has been reportedly debunked by fact-checkers. The President also continues with his remarks in another tweet stating that it will be a “rigged election”.
So Twitter did what they have been doing to other 5G-Coronavirus conspiracy theories (and non-conspiracy theories) by adding the label “Get the facts about Mail-in ballots” and when user clicks on the warning notice, it directs them to a page which explains that fact checkers says there isn’t any evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud. The President furthered by adding that the state of California will send mail-in ballots to “anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there” when only registered voters are those that would actually receive ballots.
.@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….
In some states such as Oregon, Utah and Washington, they have all conducted elections by mail only while other states like Nebraska allow any voter to request a ballot and vote by mail without having to provide a reason for their request.
Twitter spokesperson would later on add that the decision is in line with how the company approaches misinformation on the platform as well as adding warning notices and labels all depending on the likelihood and severity of harm a tweet could cause. With that said, there is a likelihood of uproar between Trump supporters and the platform once again. The US President, Donald Trump also believes that the “Radical left” are in control of big social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google according to a tweet he posted earlier this month and said that his administration will definitely find a solution to it.
In two tweets, Trump accused Twitter of interfering in the 2020 US presidential election. “Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!,” he tweeted.
Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale had fired back as well at Twitter for adding a label to the President’s tweet saying “We always knew that Silicon Valley would pull out all the stops to obstruct and interfere with President Trump getting his message through to voters. Partnering with the biased fake news media ‘fact checkers’ is only a smoke screen Twitter is using to try to lend their obvious political tactics some false credibility,” Parscale said in a statement. He also added that the Trump campaign pulled all advertising from Twitter months ago for many reasons including “their clear political bias.” Twitter banned political ads in 2019.
Another statement from The Brennan Center for Justice has it that “while mail ballots are more susceptible to fraud than in-person voting, it is still more likely for an American to be struck by lightning than to commit mail voting fraud.” Meanwhile, fact-checking organization Snopes also reported that the president has also voted by absence ballot in US elections.
The difference between Twitter and Facebook is that the latter doesn’t send it’s political post and ads to third-party fact checkers because while the president posted the same remark about the Mail-in ballot on Facebook, the post got 169k reactions and shared more than 17k times.
“We believe that people should be able to have a robust debate about the electoral process, which is why we have crafted our policies to focus on misrepresentations that would interfere with the vote,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. Twitter’s move on the other hand comes on the same day when the company came under fire for not removing tweets by Trump that falsely suggest Joe Scarborough who was a former US congressman may have murdered staffer Lori Klausutis back in the year 2001.
The 28 years old Klausutis died back in 2001 after suffering from an abnormal heart rhythm, fell and hit her head on a desk according to Politifact. The Timothy Klausutis, her husband wrote a letter to Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey back in May 21st that the company pull off Trump’s tweets but the company didn’t do it as it says that didn’t violate its rules.
We do not know for sure how Twitter really fact-check tweets and what gets a post labelled since the roll-out of the attempt to curb off fake news and misinformation off the platform but the fact remains that even the system itself is very flawed as we reported yesterday as the company flooded it’s platform with labeling of even tweets that debunked myths about the Coronavirus. It’s as if anything that has the name “COVID-19, 5G, Coronavirus” automatically gets labelled but we tried to experiment and for almost 24 hours, we still never got a label.
Meanwhile as for the Trump’s mail-in ballot tweet, it still got a share of reactions with 37,600 retweets and about 131,800 likes and in fact, the label needs to first be clicked first in order to learn more about why Twitter put it there in the first place. Another thing is that Twitter doesn’t allow anyone to appeal the labeling decision as well as not getting notified upon the decision.
Twitter didn’t immediately have any data about how many users clicked on the label to learn more about mail-in ballots. A company spokeswoman said Trump’s tweets are the only ones labeled so far because of its election integrity policy.