Democrats are calling on Twitter to suspend President Donald Trump’s Twitter account until the election is decided.
“Right now, the President’s Twitter account is posting lies and misinformation at a breathtaking clip,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) tweeted Wednesday. “It is a threat to our democracy and should be suspended until all the votes are counted.”
“Suspend his account, @Twitter. This is pure disinformation,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) tweeted Wednesday as well. “Valid votes are being counted. This is America, not Russia.”
Other Democrats like Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA) haven’t gone as far as requesting a suspension, but have criticized the president for spreading election misinformation online.
“Counting votes is not ‘finding’ votes,” Barragán tweeted at the president Wednesday. “Maybe you should learn how the election system works instead of lying/misleading by tweet all the time.”
Twitter has struggled to contain the president’s efforts to discredit mail-in voting, particularly in the wake of an intense press conference late Tuesday night. Since the press conference, the president has tweeted eight times, and seen four of the tweets restricted by Twitter for violating the civic integrity policy. The labeled tweets make false claims suggesting that Democrats were fixing the election in favor of a Joe Biden win.
“Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run & controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE, and the ‘pollsters’ got it completely & historically wrong!” Trump falsely claimed in one of the labeled tweets.
A Twitter spokesperson told The Verge that the company placed a warning on this Trump tweet for “making a potentially misleading claim about an election.” This decision also restricts engagement with the tweet.
Suspending Trump would be a dramatic move from Twitter
Suspending Trump would be a dramatic move from Twitter as the platform has never taken such a strong action against the president’s account. Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Verge regarding the Democrats’ requests that it suspend Trump.
On Monday, Twitter announced that it would stick labels on tweets making claims about election results until at least two preapproved news outlets declared winners. These outlets include ABC News, the Associated Press, CNN, Decision Desk HQ, Fox News, and NBC News. None have declared a presidential election winner as of publication time.
As polls began to close Tuesday night, Twitter started placing labels on tweets that made misleading or premature claims about the election’s results. This included notices on tweets from both Democratic and Republican leaders. On Wednesday, Twitter applied a label to a tweet from Ben Wikler, chair of Wisconsin’s Democratic Party, claiming that Biden won Wisconsin. Twitter also labeled a tweet from Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) claiming victory in his reelection campaign.
“Last night, we took quick action to limit engagement on a number of Tweets that may have needed more context or violated the Twitter Rules,” a Twitter spokesperson said on Wednesday. “Our teams continue to monitor Tweets that attempt to spread misleading information about voting, accounts engaged in spammy behavior, and Tweets that make premature or inaccurate claims about election results.”