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In the first tweet, posted on Tuesday evening, Trump wrote, “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!” There was no evidence to support the claim, which prompted Twitter to include a link to information about 2020 election security efforts.
It also affixed a warning to the tweet, which appears before a user clicks to read the contents of the post. That message reads, “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process” and includes a link to “learn more” about Twitter’s policies.
Twitter added the same label to a Trump’s Wednesday morning tweet in which he claimed that his lead in several crucial states “started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted.” The change in the vote totals was a result of ballots, particularly mail-in ballots that could not be processed before Election Day, being counted. A Twitter spokesman said that the company was restricting engagements on the tweet “as it standard with this warning.”
After Twitter similarly restricted engagement around Trump’s Tuesday evening tweet, his son Eric Trump retweeted the post with the message, “since they are censoring @realdonaldtrump.” Twitter has not affixed a warning label to Eric Trump’s retweet.
Twitter said that it would label tweets that share misleading information about civic integrity, COVID-19 and the manipulation of the media. In an Oct. 9 blog post, it further outlined its plan for handling misinformation during the presidential election, indicating that it is against its policies for a candidate to declare victory ahead of the official results. The social network also said tweets “meant to incite interference with the election process or with the implementation of election results, such as through violent action, will be subject to removal.”
In a Nov. 2 update to its policies, Twitter said it would prioritize the presidential election and other “highly contested races.” All accounts with the U.S. 2020 candidate label are be eligible for this additional tag, as well as U.S.-based accounts with more than 100,000 followers and tweets with significant engagement. Official Twitter accounts for new organizations are exempt from receiving the label.
In an earlier version of Trump’s Tuesday evening tweet, he misspelled the word “polls” as “poles.” He then deleted the tweet and re-posted it with the correct spelling of the word. Twitter affixed the label to the tweet after the message with the corrected spelling was posted.
Trump posted the same messages to Facebook, which also affixed labels to the posts. In one such label, the social networking giant noted, “Final results may be different from the initial vote counts, as ballot counting will continue for days or weeks after polls close.” The same note was affixed below a video clip from Trump’s early Wednesday speech, in which he falsely claimed victory and said votes should stop being counted. Twitter has not affixed a warning label on the same video, which was posted by @TeamTrump.
Joe Biden has also been tweeting during election night. In one post, he wrote, “Keep the faith, guys. We’re gonna win this.” In another, he wrote, “It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare the winner of this election. It’s the voters’ place.” Twitter has not added warning labels to any of his tweets.
Twitter did add a warning label to a Wednesday morning tweet from Ben Winkler, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, in which he claimed that “Joe Biden just won Wisconsin” before the race had officially been called. Several other tweets from Election Day also received the warning label.
Nov. 4, 9 a.m. Updated with additional information about tweets and Facebook posts affixed with warning labels.
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