Donald Trump has decided to pick a fight with Twitter after one of his posts on the upcoming election was labelled misleading by the social media platform.
The original tweet claimed that Mail-In (postal) ballots during the November Presidential election would be “substantially fraudulent.”
The issue has become a partisan one of late, as Democrats push for voters to have the option of mailing in their votes to avoid the risk of COVID-19 infection at the polling booth. They claim that otherwise, millions of voters may be disenfranchised as they stay at home.
Many Republicans, including Trump, believe higher voter turnouts enabled by postal voting would give their opponents an advantage, as groups that would otherwise stay home are more likely to vote Democrat.
Twitter labelled Trump’s tweet with a clickable blue notification stating “get the facts about mail-in ballots,” which takes them to a page debunking the false assertion that postal votes lead to election fraud.
Unsurprisingly, Trump hit back, branding Twitter’s response as stifling free speech and interfering in the 2020 election.
In fact, many commentators have argued that Twitter has been too easy on Trump in recent months and years, saying that his status and 80 million followers have given him carte blanche to say things that others would be blacklisted for.
Twitter’s decision can be seen in the context of its newly updated policy on misleading information. Because the propensity for harm was judged “moderate” in this case, the platform merely labelled Trump’s tweet, but if that rating is upped to “severe” then future posts could be removed.
Either way, the incident is likely to be just the first of many ahead of the election as Trump seeks to fire up his base with increasingly outlandish statements on social media.