Twitter has flagged one of US President Donald Trump’s tweets — this time for calling mail-in voting being a “a big fraud”, “voter security disaster” that permits one person to cast multiple votes — for violating its content policy. Twitter has hidden the tweet and limited engagement with it, replacing it with a notice about it violating civic and election integrity, but allowed it to remain accessible.
Through its safety account, Twitter said the tweet made misleading health claims “that could potentially dissuade people from participation in voting”.
Twitter has labeled Trump’s tweet earlier: As the US presidential election approaches, Twitter began to more strictly enforce its rules. In May, Twitter added misinformation labels to a series of tweets by Trump. Per Twitter’s policy, these labels — which were rolled out more widely after the COVID-19 pandemic started — are usually applied to false statements that are not “serious” enough to remove. The tweet was reportedly on the platform for more than five hours before the label was added.
Trump’s executive order targeted online safe harbour: Within days after the Trump’s tweets were flagged by Twitter in May, Trump issued an executive order targeting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provide safe harbour to platforms from liability what their users post online. The order removes platforms’ rights to legal protection when they moderate content, as Twitter did with Trump’s tweets.
The order calls for action against platforms not acting in “good faith”, which are engaging in “deceptive or pretextual actions” to “stifle viewpoints with which they disagree.” It said that a handful of companies control “vital avenues for national discourse” under the pretense of promoting open forums for debate.
The executive order is under legal challenge by a Washington, DC-based Center for Democracy & Technology, which said the order violates the First Amendment as it curtails and chills “constitutionally protected speech of online platforms and individuals”.
Earlier this month, Facebook removed a video clip from Fox News in which Trump claimed that children are “almost immune” to COVID-19. Twitter had temporarily blocked a Trump campaign account from tweeting until it removed the video, stating that the video violated its rules against COVID misinformation.