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Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said on Tuesday that Twitter “owes” President Donald Trump an “apology” after the social media giant “fact-checked” him for an “opinion” he expressed.
“Twitter owes the president an apology,” Patrick told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. “They fact-checked him, Laura, for his opinion, and by the way, his opinion was based on fact, because the Democrats are trying to steal this election. I just tweeted out that the Democrat plan to have everyone vote by mail is an invitation for fraud, and it’s a total scam.”
Patrick was referencing a comment from the president earlier Tuesday, who told reporters at a news conference, “When you do all mail-in voting ballots, you are asking for fraud.”
Reporters asked the president about a tweet he sent out Tuesday morning in which he said nationwide mail-in voting would be “substantially fraudulent.”
“There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed,” he wrote on Twitter.
“The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one. That will be followed up with professionals telling all of these people, many of whom have never even thought of voting before, how, and for whom, to vote. This will be a Rigged Election. No way!”
Twitter then added a “fact-check” for the first time ever, in which the social media site attempted to debunk the president’s claims.
Worse, in attempting to debunk the president, the platform relied on media outlets like the Washington Post, CNN “and others” despite the fact that those two outlets, in particular, published scores of false stories about the president and his 2016 campaign spanning at least the past three years.
“On Tuesday, President Trump made a series of claims about potential voter fraud after California Governor Gavin Newsom announced an effort to expand mail-in voting in California during the COVID-19 pandemic. These claims are unsubstantiated, according to CNN, Washington Post and others. Experts say mail-in ballots are very rarely linked to voter fraud,” Twitter explained.
The fact-check elicited an angry response from Trump.
“@Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election. They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post. Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!” Trump wrote Tuesday following the post by Twitter.
More responses from Trump followed Wednesday.
The president also leveled a threat at Twitter and other social media platforms that have regularly silenced conservative voices.
As for Patrick, he urged Americans to tweet messages “about how mail-in ballots are a scam by the Democrats.”
“Let’s see if Twitter fact-checks me and the millions of people — remember that movie, ‘Network,’ when Howard Beale said, go to the window and just shout out, you’re mad as hell and you’re not going to take it anymore?” Patrick said.
“Well, the modern-day is, go to your computer — millions of tweets, how the Democrats plan — you write your own tweet, folks, send it out and let’s see if Twitter goes after them like they went after the president,” he added. “They owe him an apology…They need to stop fact-checking opinion.”
Now they’ve decided to censor @realDonaldTrump.
What’s next, @jack?
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) May 27, 2020
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) noted that Twitter may now have unwittingly crossed a line from social media forum to a publisher, which means the company would now be subjected to a much different legal standard.
The law still protects social media companies like @Twitter because they are considered forums not publishers.
But if they have now decided to exercise an editorial role like a publisher then they should no longer be shielded from liability & treated as publishers under the law.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 27, 2020
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