There was a time, not that long ago, when Twitter let president and Fox News addict Donald J. Trump say anything. He’s repeatedly broken the social media service’s rules, tweeting things that have gotten plenty of other people suspended, sometimes permanently. And while they’ll never go that far — at least as long as he’s the most powerful man in the world — Twitter brass have started flagging rule-breaking tweets, not deleting them entirely but hiding them underneath a warning. On Saturday they did it again.
The offending tweet: one that found Trump once again encouraging voter fraud. It’s a subject close to his heart, as the pandemic he’s failed to control has rendered in-person voting in the forthcoming national election dangerous. Trump has repeatedly and baselessly claimed mail-in voting can lead to fraud, all while repeatedly telling voters to vote twice: once by mail, and then go to their polling place and, if they suspect their vote has been counted, do it again. Along with rendering their mail-in vote pointless, it’s also a felony.
Trump again pushed this lie. “NORTH CAROLINA: To make sure your Ballot COUNTS, sign & send it in EARLY,” Trump wrote. “When Polls open, go to your Polling Place to see if it was COUNTED. IF NOT, VOTE! Your signed Ballot will not count because your vote has been posted. Don’t let them illegally take your vote away from you!” (Again, voting twice is a felony. Don’t do it.)
Not long after posting it, Twitter did their thing, hiding the content under a warning. “We placed a public interest notice on this Tweet for violating our Civic Integrity Policy, specifically for encouraging people to potentially vote twice,” Twitter wrote. “To protect people on Twitter, we err on the side of limiting the circulation of Tweets which advise people to take actions which could be illegal in the context of voting or result in the invalidation of their votes.”
Previously Twitter blocked a tweet by the president’s team’s account, @TeamTrump, which spread misinformation about COVID-19, claiming, falsely, that children are immune to the disease.