For close to four years, Trump has been able to tweet whatever he likes and get away with it.
Many of his critics have pointed out that if he was anyone else, he would have been taken off the platform by this point. So when Twitter made some concessions by adding a fact check – for the first time ever – to his tweets, he had some things to say about it.
Trump has been tweeting about mail-in ballots, which are already in use in some states, calling them ‘fraudulent’. Concerns about social distancing and the spread of the novel coronavirus during the 2020 election have led some to advocate for mail-in ballots, which Trump evidently has a problem with (despite voting by mail himself in the Republican primary).
He then went on to claim that this election would somehow be rigged because the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, would send postal ballots to anyone (which isn’t how anything works, let alone voting in the US).
Twitter soon added a fact-check function to those two tweets, which just said” Get the facts about mail-in ballots” underneath his tweets with the correct information.
Trump obviously took this as a direct attack, so he then accused Twitter of ‘interfering in the 2020 presidential election’ somehow.
He also accused Twitter of stifling free speech, and then declared that as president, he wouldn’t allow this to happen. It’s unclear what exactly he would be able to do about Twitter placing a fact check on his tweets, but the responses under his tweets seemed to indicate that much of his fanbase seemed to think this was another attempt by tech companies to stifle his voice.
Trump has been in violation of Twitter’s rules before – particularly for posting misleading information and inciting harassment, such as the recent tweets about Joe Scarborough, the host of a morning TV show that used to be one of Trump’s favourites. None of his other tweets have retroactively had a fact check button applied to them either, so it’s unclear what elements of Trump’s right to free speech are being stifled. On the plus side, if Trump is annoyed enough, he may stop tweeting altogether.