A hot potato: We all know that Donald Trump is a heavy Twitter user, and he’s no stranger to controversial posts, many of which appear to violate the site’s policies, but the company's never taken action against him—until now. After the social media platform flagged his tweets with a fact-check warning, Trump claimed it was “interfering in the 2020 presidential election.”
Yesterday saw Trump tweet that mail-in ballots would be forged, illegally printed, and signed. A follow-up Tweet claimed that anyone living in the state of California would get a ballot, and professionals would tell them how to vote, and for whom.
....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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020
Around ten hours after the tweets were posted, Twitter added a link that read: “Get the facts about mail-in ballots.” It takes users to a separate page curated by the site that calls Trump’s claims “unsubstantiated” and false. It also contains several tweets from journalists and publications explaining why his allegations are untrue.
The Hill writes that over the last 20 years, there have been just 143 criminal convictions of fraud using mailed ballots, which is the equivalent of one case per state every six or seven years, or about 0.00006 percent of total votes cast.
Twitter added the label to Trump’s tweets as they violated its new “civic integrity policy,” which prevents users from “manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes,” such as posting misleading information that could dissuade people from voting.
Trump hit back at Twitter’s actions a few hours later, accusing it of interfering in the 2020 elections and “stifling free speech,” adding that, as president, he wouldn’t allow to happen.
....Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020
The incident comes as Trump continues to claim former Republican representative Joe Scarborough killed an aide, Lori Klausutis, in 2001. Police ruled that she died after hitting her head on a desk after passing out due to an undiagnosed heart condition.
Klausutis' husband, Timothy J Klausutis, wrote to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey asking him to delete Trump’s tweets. “The United States has taken something that does not belong to him - the memory of my dead wife - and perverted it for perceived political gain," he wrote.
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
Twitter has never been eager to interfere with Trump’s tweeting. Back in 2017, it refused to remove his provocative tweets because they were deemed “newsworthy,” despite previously threatening to ban him if he broke the site’s rules. It was also ruled that he couldn’t block people on the platform as it violated their First Amendment rights.