Twitter fact-checks China amid bias row
Twitter, carefully monitored for the use of fact-checking notices, added them to the tweets of the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman.
The warning was added to spokesman Lijian Zhao’s tweets, where he warned: “It may have been the US military that brought the outbreak to Wuhan.”
Twitter added the warning more than two months after the tweets were posted.
He arrives in the middle of the row with the White House, after similar warnings have been added to President Trump’s tweets.
Trump is now ready to sign an executive order for social media companies, the White House said, in a significant escalation of the controversy.
Earlier this week, after Twitter added its fact-checking links to President Trump’s tweets, he threatened to “shut down” social networks for alleged anti-conservative bias.
Warnings about Lijian Zhao’s tweets were added after developments in the United States.
A tweet from March 12 criticized the US Centers for Disease Control for lack of clarity before stating that “it could be” that the US military was somehow involved in the Wuhan outbreak.
In another tweet the following day, he linked to an article claiming to have evidence that the virus originated in the United States, encouraging people to read and retweet it, which thousands have done.
Both tweets now contain a bright blue exclamation mark that urges readers to “Understand the facts about Covid-19”.
Clicking on it directs the user to a tweet page on World Health Organization research that suggests that the virus originated in animals and minimizes theories of deliberate human involvement in its spread.
The New York Post, which broke the story, said Twitter only added the warning after its reporters put pressure on the company for alleged “double standards” between the Chinese official and Trump.
A Twitter spokesman would not confirm if that were the case, saying only that Zhao’s tweets “contain potentially misleading content on Covid-19” and have been labeled to “provide additional context”.
Meanwhile, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey appealed to users to “please leave our employees out of this” when the discussion with the White House broke out.
Yoel Roth, who is responsible for the integrity of the Twitter site, has been accused by many conservatives as the man behind the effort to check the president’s facts. Many important Republican Twitter rumors have pointed to old Roth tweets referring to “Nazis in the White House” and other insults about the president and his allies.
Kellyanne Conway, an elderly White House collaborator with the title of president’s adviser, seemed to encourage supporters to contact Mr. Roth online, saying on Fox News that someone should “wake him up and tell him that he is going to get more followers.”
Twitter, however, insists that no one is responsible for his fact-checking decisions.
“Someone is ultimately responsible for our actions as a company, and it’s me,” tweeted Dorsey, promising to continue “reporting incorrect or disputed information.”
“Our intention is to connect the points of the conflicting statements and show the conflicting information so that people can judge for themselves. More transparency on our part is crucial so that people can clearly see why behind our actions “he said.
The approach differs from that of Facebook.
Sir Nick Clegg, a prominent former UK politician who became Facebook’s vice president of communications, said the company does not believe that “a private tech company like ours should take care of controlling what politicians say about each other.” other, “reports Telegraph.
“We think people should be allowed to hear what politicians say so they can make a decision and take the politician into account,” he said.