Twitter: In Conflict With Trump And The Democrats

President Trump has called for the closure of certain social media companies, such as Twitter, this Wednesday. It is the latest act in a long fray between conservatives and big tech companies over censorship. Social media platforms are also accused of being lax in the face of the circulation of bad information.

Highlights 

  • The threat of Trump’s closure came hours after Twitter verified one of its postal voting tweets. The president accused the platform of “interfering” with the 2020 election and of stifling “freedom of expression. “
  • Republicans have long accused the platform – and other social media companies – of censorship. Last year, Senate Republicans castigated Facebook, Google, and Twitter leaders in a congressional hearing for allegations that they would deliberately silence conservative users and develop algorithms to suppress the content of right voters. Senator Ted Cruz accused them of using “consistent models of political bias and censorship. “
  • Experts say there is no evidence that Silicon Valley is working behind the scenes to deliberately limit the reach of the Conservatives. Indeed, an analysis by Axios conducted last year revealed that the articles about the 2020 presidential election that aroused the most online interest often came from right-wing media. 
  • Democrats, on the other hand, have accused Twitter and Facebook of being too distant in the face of disinformation. They have become increasingly critical as the 2020 elections draw closer, particularly regarding information about the coronavirus epidemic.
  • The Democrats have asked that Donald Trump’s Twitter account be restricted or revoked because of his false allegations.
  • Last year, Twitter responded to a request from senator Kamala Harris to suspend Trump’s account for violating the platform’s guidelines, suggesting that world leaders don’t always have to follow his rules. Democrats on Tuesday rallied behind the widow of Lori Klausutis, who asked the platform to withdraw the president’s tweets accusing the MSNBC host Joe Scarborough of baseless murdering her husband.

Key context 

Twitter has implemented measures to combat false information online. Last year, they announced the removal of political ads from the platform. 

But the platform had a hard time getting used to the idea that it had to control the tweets of world leaders. In recent months, Twitter has stepped up its fact-checking operation in response to the pandemic, only after being prompted to do so several times. This month, she said she would mark tweets containing erroneous information, especially about the elections, with tags linked to reliable information.

Remains to know

How Twitter is going to choose to tag Trump’s tweets in the future? Although the company decided to tag tweets containing misleading information, it failed to annotate multiple tweets from Trump. Last week, he incorrectly claimed that the Michigan secretary of state had “illegally” sent mail-in requests for the November elections during the pandemic. Twitter was unable to post on the tweet. 

Quote

“We always knew that Silicon Valley would make every effort to prevent President Trump to get his message to voters” , said Brad PARSCALE, campaign manager 2020 Trump, in a statement in response to verification of the facts on Twitter. “The partnership with the biased fake news media” fact checkers “is just a smokescreen that Twitter is using to try to give false credibility to its obvious political tactics.”

Tangent 

After checking the facts, the Republicans targeted Twitter site integrity manager Yoel Roth for the anti-Trump tweets he posted. However, a Twitter spokesperson told Business Insider that if Yoel Roth is part of the team that recommends tagging tweets containing false information, the final decision rests with the executives. 

Some numbers 

According to the New York Times , Donald Trump wrote an average of 29 tweets a day last year, compared to 9 tweets a day at the start of his presidency. On May 10, he tweeted 108 times.