Just minutes after President Trump baselessly alleged in a Twitter post that Democrats were trying to “steal” the election, the social network hid the tweet behind a message warning that his tweet was “disputed” and “might be misleading.”
“We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election,” Trump tweeted at 12:49 a.m. ET on Wednesday. “We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!”
Trump posted the same message on Facebook, which appended this fact-checking note: “Final results may be different from initial vote counts, as ballot counting will continue for days or weeks,” the Facebook message says, citing the Bipartisan Policy Center as a source.
Contrary to Trump’s claim, there’s no evidence that Democrats are trying to have votes illegally counted in the 2020 election.
Twitter in less than 10 minutes had placed a warning over the president’s post that reads, “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.” To see the text of Trump’s tweet, users must click “View” on the warning label. With the tweet hidden behind the warning, it cannot be directly retweeted (it may be retweeted as a quoted tweet), liked or commented on.
The Twitter Safety team said, “We placed a warning on a Tweet from @realDonaldTrump for making a potentially misleading claim about an election. This action is in line with our Civic Integrity Policy.”
Trump, in a separate tweet, also claimed, “I will be making a statement tonight. A big WIN!” For the time being, Twitter has not taken any action on that post. The company had said previously that it would flag any statements by candidates or parties that prematurely declare victory in an election. The U.S. presidential election results in several states as of Tuesday night were still not determined, as ballots continued to be counted.
After Trump tweeted his claim about a “big win,” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said in a Twitter post, “It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare the winner of this election. It’s the voters’ place.”
On Trump’s “big win” claim on Facebook, the social network attached a message that says, “The winner of the 2020 US Presidential Election has not been projected.” Both of Facebook’s fact-check labels link to its Voting Information Center hub for the 2020 U.S. election.
Twitter’s policy for political figures like Trump is to leave up tweets that would be violations for regular users if the company considers them to be in the “public interest,” but with warning labels. The social network adopted that policy in June 2019. Twitter first enforced the policy on Trump’s account over a May 29 tweet in which he said about the unrest in Minneapolis after George Floyd’s murder, “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!” In that case, Twitter said the tweet violated its policy banning the glorification of violence.