Trump threatens to “shut down” social-media after his tweets tagged
WASHINGTON : US President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to close down social media platforms after Twitter labelled two of his tweets “unsubstantiated” and accused him of making false claims.
Trump did not elaborate on what actions he could take. But the threat is Trump’s clearest expression of intent to use the power of government to target his perceived political enemies in the private sector — businesses that already enjoy wide latitude under the law to moderate their platforms as they see fit.
And it raises the stakes for Twitter and Facebook as they grapple with Trump’s misleading claims about mail-in voting and his baseless insinuations that a cable TV news host had a hand in an aide’s death decades ago.
Twitter targeted two tweets the president posted on Tuesday in which he contended without evidence that mail-in voting would lead to fraud and a “Rigged Election.” Under the tweets, Twitter posted a link which read “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” — a first for the social network which has long resisted calls to censure the US president over truth-defying posts.
“We can’t let large scale Mail-In Ballots take root in our Country,” Trump tweeted. “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!!!!” Facebook and Twitter declined to comment Wednesday.
“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,” Trump tweeted.
On Tuesday, Twitter for the first time prompted readers to check the facts in tweets sent by US President Donald Trump, warning his claims about mail-in ballots were false and had been debunked by fact checkers.
In a tweet responding to the company’s move, Trump accused the company of interfering in the 2020 presidential election. “Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!” he said.
The blue exclamation mark notification prompted readers to “get the facts about mail-in ballots” and directed them to a page with news articles and information about the claims aggregated by Twitter staffers.
Trump pushed back again on Wednesday saying “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. The president also accused social media platforms of interfering in the last election, saying “we saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016.””We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that happen again.”
The president has long used Twitter as a platform to spread abuse, conspiracy theories, false information and insults to his 80 million followers. Before being elected in 2016, he built his political brand by supporting the “birther” lie that Barack Obama, America’s first black president, was not born in the United States and therefore was not eligible to be president.
And he has recently ignited another storm with an attempted character assassination of MSNBC TV host Joe Scarborough by spreading the baseless rumor he murdered an aide.
(With Agency Inputs ).