Early last week Twitter fact-checked a tweet President Trump made which was, “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mailboxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed. 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 responded to the Tweet by adding a fact check and stated,”We added a label to two @realDonaldTrump Tweets about California’s vote-by-mail plans as part of our efforts to enforce our civic integrity policy. We believe those Tweets could confuse voters about what they need to do to receive a ballot and participate in the election process. We also wanted to provide additional context and conversation with regard to voter fraud and mail-in ballots. We have a range of remediations, and in some caWses, we add labels that link to more context”.
CEO of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded to the fact-checking his company did by stating,”Per our Civic Integrity policy (https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/election-integrity-policy…), the tweets yesterday(05/26/2020) may mislead people into thinking they don’t need to register to get a ballot (only registered voters receive ballots). We’re updating the link on @realDonaldTrump’s tweet to make this more clear”.
President Trump responded to Twitter’s fact-checking by stating, “@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”!
Two days after the back and forth between President Trump and Twitter, President Trump signed an executive order called, “Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship“. The order starts with,”
- “Free speech is the bedrock of American democracy. Our Founding Fathers protected this sacred right with the First Amendment to the Constitution. The freedom to express and debate ideas is the foundation for all of our rights as a free people.”
- “Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube wield immense, if not unprecedented, power to shape the interpretation of public events; to censor, delete, or disappear information; and to control what people see or do not see”.
- “As President, I have made clear my commitment to free and open debate on the internet. Such debate is just as important online as it is in our universities, our town halls, and our homes. It is essential to sustaining our democracy”.
- “Twitter now selectively decides to place a warning label on certain tweets in a manner that clearly reflects political bias. As has been reported, Twitter seems never to have placed such a label on another politician’s tweet”.
- “As a Nation, we must foster and protect diverse viewpoints in today’s digital communications environment where all Americans can and should have a voice. We must seek transparency and accountability from online platforms, and encourage standards and tools to protect and preserve the integrity and openness of American discourse and freedom of expression”.
Some important parts of the Executive Order are:
- “It is the policy of the United States to foster clear ground rules promoting free and open debate on the internet”.
- “It is the policy of the United States that large online platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, as the critical means of promoting the free flow of speech and ideas today, should not restrict protected speech”.
- “The FTC shall consider taking action, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to prohibit unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, pursuant to section 45 of title 15, United States Code.”