The social network marked two tweets by the American president with a suggestion for users to check the facts, pointing out that allegations “are unfounded”. In reaction, Trump accused the platform of interfering in the elections. The social network Twitter placed, for the first time, a fact-checking notice in two posts by U.S. President Donald Trump. In the messages, published on Tuesday (May 26), Trump makes reference to California’s plans to expand voting access by mail in the November presidential elections.

“Twitter is completely stifling free speech,” reacted Trump

Photo: DW / Deutsche Welle

The president, who has more than 80 million followers on the social network, says that postal voting is “fraudulent”, that “mailboxes will be stolen” and that “ballots will be forged”. The American president has more than 80 million followers.

Below the two posts, Twitter inserted a blue exclamation point with a link, advising readers to “get ballot information by mail”. The link redirects users to a page with a message from Twitter itself and with news from vehicles such as The Washington Post and CNN that belie the president’s claims.

“On Tuesday, President Trump made a series of allegations about possible electoral fraud after California Governor Gavin Newsom announced an effort to expand postal voting in California during the covid-19 pandemic. are justified, according to CNN, Washington Post and others. Experts say postal ballots are rarely linked to electoral fraud! “says the Twitter text.

Hours later, Trump used Twitter himself to attack the social network, accusing the company of “interfering in the 2020 presidential elections”. “Twitter is completely stifling free speech, and I, as president, will not allow that!”

The social network confirmed that it was the first time it flagged Trump’s tweets, a move aligned with the company’s new policy to warn about fake news. The rules were introduced this year, initially to deal with unreliable coronavirus news.

Although the U.S. president often uses his account to make questionable statements and launch personal attacks, Twitter has resisted taking action against Trump, arguing that allowing controversial tweets from politicians encourages discussion and helps hold them accountable.

In recent months, however, there has been increasing popular and political pressure for social media to act against the spread of fake news. Governments around the world have come to demand stricter regulations from social media companies to prevent the spread of this type of content. In April, the WhatsApp messaging app announced that it started limiting the forwarding of messages to prevent the spread of false information.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been encouraging “postal voting methods” to ensure that citizens can observe the rules of social distance and avoid crowds due to the pandemic – the United States concentrates about 30% of the population. total cases of covid-19 and about 28% of deaths. Trump, however, has been questioning this voting method. The presidential elections are scheduled for November 3 and the president will run for re-election by the republican party.

Trump joins other leaders

Now Trump joins a small group of heads of state who have already had their posts contested on Twitter, such as Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, Iran’s “supreme leader”, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

In late March, Twitter blocked two videos published in Bolsonaro’s official profile about his visit to commerce in the Brasilia region. In place of the posts, the message appeared: “This tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules.

Then Facebook and Instagram also removed a video posted by the president. “We removed content on Facebook and Instagram that violates our Community Standards, which do not allow misinformation that could cause real harm to people,” the group explained in a note.

Also in March, Twitter deleted posts from Environment Minister Ricardo Salles and Senator Flávio Bolsonaro for using out of context an old video by doctor Drauzio Varella, in which he addressed the crisis caused by the coronavirus.

This month, Instagram posted a post on Bolsonaro’s official profile after a checking agency found the information to be false. The post said that the number of deaths from respiratory diseases in Ceará has decreased this year, which is not true.

LE / lusa / ots


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Deutsche Welle
Deutsche Welle is Germany’s international broadcaster and produces independent journalism in 30 languages.