Trump attacks Twitter employee while defending fact-checked tweets

President Donald Trump

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

President Donald Trump on Thursday singled out a Twitter employee while attacking the social media giant after checking his tweets on the postal ballots.

The president’s tweet shared the Twitter nickname of the company’s “site integrity officer”, Yoel Roth, who co-wrote a blog post from May 11 explain how the website would change the way it treats misleading information. The message announced that Twitter would use new tags and warning messages on certain tweets where readers could be “confused or misled by the content”.

The president’s tweet came as Trump planned to sign an executive order Thursday that would push the Federal Communications Commission to establish new rules for protecting certain websites under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Current law largely exempts these publications from responsibility for much of the content of their websites.

Twitter added warning labels to two of Trump’s postal ballot tweets on Tuesday for the first time, urging readers to “get the facts” qualifying the president’s assertions as “unfounded”.

Trump tweeted Thursday afternoon: “So ridiculous to see Twitter trying to prove that postal ballots are not subject to FRAUD.”

“How stupid, there are examples and cases everywhere. Our electoral process is going to get very tainted and laughed from all over the world,” said Trump’s tweet.

The president added, “Tell that to your haters,” followed by Roth’s Twitter handle.

Roth has reportedly posted critical messages about Trump and his supporters in the past. “I’m just saying we’re flying over states that voted for a racist tangerine for a reason,” Roth tweeted in November 2016.

The Trump campaign has tweeted about Roth at least twice since Wednesday. And Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Referred to Roth – without using his name – in a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, criticizing the decision to mark Trump’s tweets with warning labels.

But Twitter said Buzzfeed News that Roth was not responsible for verifying the facts of Trump’s tweets. “No one on Twitter is responsible for our policies or enforcement, and it is unfortunate to see employees targeted for corporate decisions,” the spokesperson told Buzzfeed.

Dorsey tweeted Wednesday evening that “there is someone ultimately responsible for our actions as a company, and it is me. Please leave our employees out of this.”

Twitter referred CNBC to Dorsey’s tweet when asked for further comments on the president’s message.

After checking the facts on Twitter, Trump accused the company of “interfering” with the 2020 presidential election and of trying to “censor” it.

“If this happens, we no longer have our freedom. I will never let it happen!” Trump tweeted Wednesday night.

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