Twitter updated its policies Thursday to remove or label posts that “incite violence” if President Donald Trump does not willingly leave the White House if he loses to former Vice President Joe Biden.
The platform will now prohibit “misleading claims about the results,” early claims of victory by either side, or “inciting unlawful conduct” to prevent a peaceful handover of power, Twitter explained in a blog post. The blog did not detail what criteria moderators will use to determine which posts should get removed and which ones should get labeled.
Twitter will also either apply fact-check labels to or hide tweets containing “false or misleading information that causes confusion” regarding the electoral process, or posts with “unverified information about election rigging.” Several of Trump’s critics promoted conspiracy theories in August suggesting the Trump administration was removing mailboxes to suppress votes.
Twitter has labeled Trump’s tweets in the past for violating the company’s Civic Integrity Policy, which prevents users from posting content that might dissuade people from voting.
Moderators fact-checked a tweet by Trump in May in which he argued that California’s mail-in ballots will be “substantially fraudulent.” Trump’s tweets “contain potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots,” Twitter spokeswoman Katie Rosborough told The Washington Post in May.
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The company flagged another Trump tweet on Aug. 24 in which the president implied people could get coronavirus from mailboxes. Twitter noted in an Aug. 23 tweet explaining the move that Trump’s comment, which also warned that people could use mailboxes to vote multiple times, violated “our Civic Integrity Policy for making misleading health claims.
Some of Trump’s critics have suggested on Twitter that his administration is tampering with mailboxes to suppress mail-in ballots ahead of the election. Twitter declined to flag them, with a spokesman telling the Daily Caller News Foundation Aug. 20 that the tweets are “currently not in violation of the Twitter Rules and will not be labeled.”
Walter Shaub, who was head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics under former President Barack Obama, wrote in an Aug. 15 tweet that “this is what a coup looks like.” Shaub quote-tweeted a user who posted a tweet showing mailboxes stacked up at a facility in Wisconsin.
Actress Alyssa Milano and Daniel Goldman, the lead investigator for the Democrats’ impeachment of Trump, are among several celebrities and Democrats who suggested the image is evidence that Trump is suppressing votes. The image of stacked boxes is not what it appears, according to photojournalist Gary He.
He noted in an Aug. 17 Twitter thread that the circulated images depict Hartford Finishing Inc., a powder finishing company in Wisconsin. He reported in the tweet that someone at Hartford Finishing told him that the company handled contracts for USPS for years. A USA Today fact-check published Aug. 17 determined the tweets were false.
Twitter has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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