- Trump has threatened to close down social media platforms if they “silence” conservative voices.
- The message comes after Twitter tagged one of his tweets with a fact check warning on Tuesday.
- The platform had been under pressure to take action after Trump groundlessly accused MSNBC host Joe Scarborough of being involved in a murder.
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President Donald Trump threatened to close down social media platforms if they censor conservative voices, after Twitter on Tuesday tagged one of his messages with a fact check warning.
“Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen. We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016,” tweeted the president.
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2020
Twitter has been under pressure to take action against Trump after he spent weeks promoting a baseless conspiracy theory alleging that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough was involved in the death of a staffer, Lori Klausutis, while he was serving as a US congressman.
It’s not the first time the platform had been criticised for allowing the president to spread conspiracies and smears against opponents on the platform, despite its policies against the promotion of disinformation.
Twitter has declined to take action against the president for the messages about Scarborough, but on Tuesday for the first time put a fact check tag on one of Trump’s tweets.
In the message the president claimed that “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent.”
Twitter tagged the message with a blue exclamation mark and warning message, linking to articles in the Washington Post, CNN and other outlets that debunk the president’s assertion.
Trump doubled down on his voter fraud claims in a follow-up tweet on Wednesday.
“We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that happen again. Just like we can’t let large scale Mail-In Ballots take root in our Country. It would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots. Whoever cheated the most would win. Likewise, Social Media. Clean up your act, NOW!!!!” wrote Trump.
Trump has long accused social media companies of bias towards conservatives. In June 2019 he invited several far-right provocateurs and conspiracy theorists, some of whom had had hate speech removed by social media platforms, to the White House for a social media summit.
He has also credited being able to communicate on Twitter as a key factor in his election to the White House, remarking that it allows him to communicate with voters directly, unfiltered by media organisations he accuses of partisan bias.