Updated: Jun 1, 2020
After years of letting Donald Trump spread lies and hatred, Twitter finally decided to put a fact check warning on one of his Tweets. Why? Because Trump continues to spread misinformation that voting by mail opens the doors to voter fraud.
Voting? That’s Twitter’s breaking point? Not the thousands of hate-filled Trump Tweets over the years, his promotion of countless conspiracy theories, spreading lies that Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. or re-tweeting a video of a white supremacist who says the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat?
Well, better late than never.
Trump’s Response to Twitter Fact Checking
Being Donald Trump, he was not going to take this slap back lying down. The very next day he decided to abuse his power of the Presidency to create an Executive Order. This Executive Order has the misleading title of “Preventing Online Censorship." (Complete Executive Order here.)
The actual title should be “Trump Wants Government Control of Social Media So He Can Freely Spread Lies to Get Re-elected.”
Trump needs to look up the definition of censorship. Adding a link to fact check something you can still have access to is not censorship.
Interpreting the Executive Order
Here are some key points from the Executive Order with comments.
The freedom to express and debate ideas is the foundation for all of our rights as a free people.
Comment: Trump should be able to freely publish false information to suppress Democratic voters so he can get re-elected.
When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power.
Comment: Trump has the right to express his opinions and pass them off as facts without question. Trump has said his supporters should not believe anything they read; they should only believe him so he needs to keep them in the dark on actual facts.
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.
Comment: Only Trump and the federal government should have the ability to control what people see or not see.
As President, I have made clear my commitment to free and open debate on the internet.
Comment: If you post something that disagrees with or criticizes him, Trump will block you from his Twitter page.
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 recently as last week, Representative Adam Schiff was continuing to mislead his followers by peddling the long-disproved Russian Collusion Hoax, and Twitter did not flag those tweets.
Comment: He even put fake facts in an Executive Order and made it political rather than an order intended to protect the First Amendment right to free speech.
Other companies have accepted advertisements paid for by the Chinese government that spread false information about China's mass imprisonment of religious minorities, thereby enabling these abuses of human rights.
Comment: Russian bots are an exemption as they help Trump’s re-election campaign. However, these are part of the “Russian Hoax” so they don’t really exist, right?
The Very Next Day…
The day after signing the Executive Order intended to protect Trump’s right to exercise “the freedom to express and debate ideas”, he posted this response to the violence in Minneapolis, which was also posted on the official White House Twitter page.
“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
Twitter’s response? They placed a “public interest notice” on both posts saying they glorify violence; however, they still allow you to click on it to read what it says. Based on Trump’s Executive Order, flagging this post amounts to censorship and it should not be allowed.
After all, how can he stir up racial tension with his base if he can’t incite violence?