Twitter won’t back down from fact-checking misleading tweets from President Trump about mail-in balloting, says CEO Jack Dorsey, though he explained the reasoning behind the move in a series of his own tweets last night.
“We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make,” he writes.
However, in the same tweet thread, Twitter’s CEO offered an eyebrow-raising explanation for why it fact-checked Trump’s tweets in the first place. The company actually doesn’t have a problem with the president baselessly claiming expanded mail-in voting will lead to election fraud. The real issue is how Trump’s original tweets mentioned this line: “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.”
Dorsey says “the tweets yesterday may mislead people into thinking they don’t need to register to get a ballot,” which is a violation of Twitter’s policy on safeguarding elections from manipulation. Hence, the company decided to place a disclaimer on the tweets, which will link users to a Twitter page devoted to the topic.
“This does not make us an ‘arbiter of truth,’” he adds. “Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves. More transparency from us is critical so folks can clearly see the why behind our actions.”
Twitter’s CEO posted the tweets after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg indicated his own company would never fact-check a post from the president. “I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” he said in an interview with Fox News. “Private companies probably shouldn’t be, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”
Trump has been bashing Twitter (on Twitter) for fact-checking the two tweets. He is now accusing it of silencing conservatives, and threatening government action to rein in social media firms. According to Reuters, later today, the president is expected to sign an executive order that’ll demand a review of a US law that protects internet-based platforms from lawsuits over the user content they host.
Trump’s allies are also blasting Twitter, claiming the fact-checking shows the social media company has a bias against conservatives. On Wednesday, White House advisor Kellyanne Conway took to Fox News and called on Trump supporters to protest Twitter’s Head of Site Integrity for past tweets criticizing the president and his administration.
In response, Dorsey said on Wednesday: “Fact check: there is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that’s me. Please leave our employees out of this.”
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