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Though Twitter decided last week to not fact-check or remove blatant misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding the United States Postal Service, it did opt to flag President Donald Trump this weekend for making allegedly “misleading health claims.”
“So now the Democrats are using Mail Drop Boxes, which are a voter security disaster. Among other things, they make it possible for a person to vote multiple times. Also, who controls them, are they placed in Republican or Democrat areas? They are not Covid sanitized. A big fraud!” the president wrote in a tweet posted Sunday morning.
So now the Democrats are using Mail Drop Boxes, which are a voter security disaster. Among other things, they make it possible for a person to vote multiple times. Also, who controls them, are they placed in Republican or Democrat areas? They are not Covid sanitized. A big fraud!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2020
Here’s how the tweet now appears on Twitter:
The president reportedly posted his angry tweet in response to reports that Arizona, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are considering using drop boxes to allow voters concerned about social distancing to cast their votes in November.
A couple of hours after the president posted the tweet, Twitter pounced by claiming the tweet was “making misleading health claims that could potentially dissuade people from participation in voting.” The social media network added a disclaimer that it’d allow the tweet to remain anyway because it was posted by the president.
However, other Twitter users may not comment on, like or reply to the tweet.
We placed a public interest notice on this Tweet for violating our Civic Integrity Policy for making misleading health claims that could potentially dissuade people from participation in voting. https://t.co/MA6E7mBpkm
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) August 23, 2020
Per our policies, this Tweet will remain on the service given its relevance to ongoing public conversation. Engagements with the Tweet will be limited. People will be able to Retweet with Comment, but not Like, Reply, or Retweet it. pic.twitter.com/USuaRr5ING
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) August 23, 2020
Whether or not the president’s claim about mail drop boxes not being COVID sanitized is accurate is entirely irrelevant given that Twitter made a willful decision last week to ignore blatant misinformation that was spread widely by members of the left.
“After Trump said last week that he opposed funding the USPS because ‘that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting,’ tweets of mailboxes being ‘locked’ or stored away went viral on Twitter,” National Review reported.
“The claims, which have over 25,000 and 82,000 retweets respectively, elicited dramatic claims about Trump’s alleged efforts to disrupt the upcoming election. Walter Shaub — head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics under President Obama — said ‘this is what a coup looks like,’ while top Democratic impeachment aide Daniel Goldman called it ‘the most anti-democratic thing [Trump] has done.'”
As of Sunday, the conspiracy theories still remained on Twitter:
In your entire life have you ever seen a LOCKED mailbox at the USPS?
Now you have.
A disgrace and immediate threat to American democracy. Shame on them. Shame on the GOP.
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) August 17, 2020
Photo taken in Wisconsin. This is happening right before our eyes. They are sabotaging USPS to sabotage vote by mail. This is massive voter suppression and part of their plan to steal the election. pic.twitter.com/QXLWGIHTrz
— Thomas Kennedy (@tomaskenn) August 15, 2020
Hmm. It’s almost like there’s some sort of pattern on which states were targeted. https://t.co/l44MnoRCxb
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) August 21, 2020
They’re trying to tear apart our Postal Service piece by piece. But Peter DeFazio is defending our right to vote (and every mailbox in America). #USPSisEssential #USPS #SaveThePostOffice pic.twitter.com/f9s6syjuA9
— Peter DeFazio (@DeFazio4Oregon) August 18, 2020
And the reason they still remained was because of Twitter’s decisionmaking.
“[A] Twitter spokesperson told National Review that the viral tweets did not violate the platform’s rules, including its civic integrity policy — which prohibits ‘misleading information relating to votes not being counted,'” NRO confirmed.
“Twitter cited the policy when it added a ‘fact-check’ to Trump’s tweets about mail-in ballots, after he claimed that California was sending ballots to ‘anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there.’”
In other words, Twitter has chosen to apply its rules only to conservatives such as the president.
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