Trump threatens social media companies after Twitter fact-checks him
US President Donald Trump is threatening social media companies with new regulation or even shuttering after Twitter added fact-checks to two of his tweets.
- Donald Trump is claiming social media companies are attempting to “silence conservative voices”
- This comes after Twitter added a warning phrase to two of his tweets that called mail-in ballots “fraudulent”
- The president has accused Twitter of “interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election”
The president can not unilaterally regulate or close the companies, which would require action by Congress or the Federal Communications Commission.
But that did not stop Mr Trump from angrily issuing a strong warning.
Claiming tech giants “silence conservative voices”, Mr Trump tweeted, “we will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen”.
And he repeated his unsubstantiated claim — which sparked his latest showdown with Silicon Valley — that expanding mail-in voting “would be a free-for-all on cheating, forgery and the theft of ballots”.
Mr Trump and his campaign angrily responded on Tuesday after Twitter added a warning phrase to two of his tweets that called mail-in ballots — which are commonplace in Australia and many other countries — “fraudulent” and predicted that “mailboxes will be robbed”, among other things.
Under the tweets, there is now a link reading, “get the facts about mail-in ballots”, that guides users to a Twitter “moments” page with fact-checks and news stories about Mr Trump’s unsubstantiated claims.
Mr Trump replied on Twitter, accusing the platform of “interfering in the 2020 presidential election” and insisting that “as President, I will not allow this to happen”.
His campaign manager, Brad Parscale, said Twitter’s “clear political bias” had led the campaign to pull “all our advertising from Twitter months ago”.
Twitter has banned all political advertising since last November.
Mr Trump did not explain his threat on Wednesday, and the call to expand regulation appeared to fly in the face of long-held conservative principles on deregulation.
But some Trump allies, who have alleged bias on the part of tech companies, have questioned whether platforms like Twitter and Facebook should continue to enjoy liability protections as “platforms” under federal law or be treated more like publishers, which could face lawsuits over content.
The protections have been credited with allowing the unfettered growth of the internet for more than two decades, but now some of the President’s allies are advocating that social media companies face more scrutiny.
“Big tech gets a huge handout from the federal government,” Republican Senator Josh Hawley told Fox News.
“They get this special immunity, this special immunity from suits and from liability that’s worth billions of dollars to them every year.
“Why are they getting subsidised by federal taxpayers to censor conservatives, to censor people critical of China?”