Twitter fact-checks Trump, slaps warning labels on his tweets about mail-in ballots

An election official sorts the postal ballots for the presidential primary during the King County elections in Renton, Washington, March 10, 2020.

Jason Redmond | AFP | Getty Images

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s favorite social media platform, Twitter, began checking his messages, applying warning labels to two of his tweets who were making misleading claims about postal voting.

The Twitter decision marked the first time the social media giant has verified the facts with the president on his own platform.

“Learn about postal ballots,” read the tags under two of Trump’s tweets.

When clicked, links take users to a page that reads in part: “Trump has falsely claimed that postal ballots would lead to” a rigged election. “However, fact-checkers say he does not “There is no evidence that the postal ballots are linked to electoral fraud.”

A Twitter spokesperson told CNBC that the tweets “contain potentially misleading information about the voting process and have been labeled to provide additional context around postal ballots.”

The move follows Twitter’s decision last month to change its approach, the spokesman added.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

Calls to Twitter to intervene in the President’s account rose earlier on Tuesday after Trump continued to make baseless suggestion that MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough may have been involved in the death in 2001 of his former intern while ‘he was in Congress.

The staff member’s widower wrote to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey asking him to delete Trump’s tweets on the matter. “I ask you to intervene in this case because the president of the United States took something that does not belong to him – the memory of my deceased wife – and perverted it for a perceived political gain,” he wrote. in the letter, which was published by the New York Times Tuesday morning.

But Twitter made no commitment in response: “We are deeply sorry for the pain these statements and the attention they receive cause family. We have worked to extend existing product features and policies to that we can deal more effectively with these things in the future, and we hope that these changes will be implemented soon. “

The new labels, first published on Tuesday afternoon, only appeared on Trump’s tweets on the postal ballots.

Twitter has rejected Trump’s multiple claims in the tweets, calling them “unfounded” in the links attached to the labels. The links cite reports from CNN, the Washington Post and other media.

“Trump has falsely claimed that California would mail ballots to” anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there. ” In fact, only registered voters will receive ballots, “said the Twitter links.

“Although Trump has targeted California, postal ballots are already in use in some states, including Oregon, Utah and Nebraska,” the links said.

Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. responded to Twitter’s decision by asking – on Twitter – whether the website would start to “censor and verify the facts of all of the many journalists and left-wing activists who have falsely claimed that Trump is colluding with the Russian government. “

Trump critics have long called on Twitter to take action against Trump’s use of the platform. Of the more than 18,000 false or misleading statements by Trump as president, more than 3,300 were made in tweets, according to the Washington Post.

Twitter had exposed the new warning labels in a May 11 blog post, although they were touted as a tool to correct “the disputed or misleading information related to COVID-19”.

But the blog post noted that “to move forward, we can use these warning labels and messages to provide additional explanations or clarifications in situations where the risks of harm associated with a Tweet are less serious but where people can always be confused or misled by the content. “

Later Tuesday evening, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale accused Twitter of trying to prevent the president from reaching voters.

“We always knew that Silicon Valley would do anything to hinder and interfere with President Trump getting his message out to voters,” Parscale said in a statement.

“The partnership with the fake factual verifiers of fake media is just a smokescreen that Twitter is using to try to give their obvious political tactics false credibility,” said Parscale. “There are several reasons why the Trump campaign removed all of our ads from Twitter months ago, and their clear political bias is one of them.”

In fact, Twitter last October banned all political advertising on the platform, a decision that Parscale complained of at the time.

These are the latest news. Please check back for updates.

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