Three days after Election Day, President Trump is still tangling with moderators in an effort to spread false claims about supposed election fraud. The president tweeted eight times on Thursday night and saw fully half of the tweets restricted by Twitter, blocking retweets and replies as it has done with previous infractions. The tweets came after a lull of several hours, during which a number of the president’s surrogates sent out tweet-length statements through other channels.
“Twitter is out of control,” the president said in one of the unlabeled tweets, “made possible through the government gift of Section 230!”
The tweets include the allegation that election observers were prevented from entering counting stations in Philadelphia and Detroit, a claim contradicted by direct testimony from observers in both cities.
Two of the tweets consisted entirely of broadcast clips from Trump’s recent press conference, in which he made baseless claims of election fraud. The speech included many of the same groundless accusations as his previously labeled tweets, and several TV networks cut away from the press conference during broadcast because of the sheer volume of falsehood. Still, the move represents a potential escalation from Twitter’s moderators, who had previously taken a lax approach to publicly broadcast video clips.
Twitter tells The Verge that it will not take action against press organizations that report on the videos in question — and it will review individual tweets including the statements to determine whether to take action. “This action is in line with our Civic Integrity Policy, and as is standard with this warning, we will significantly restrict engagements on these tweets,” a spokesperson said.
Twitter has been strictly enforcing its Civic Integrity Policy in the fraught period after Election Day, and much of the new moderation has been directed toward President Trump. The president has tweeted 30 times since Tuesday evening, and 12 of those tweets have now been restricted in some way. Restricted tweets include the plainly false claim that no mail-in ballots received after Election Day will be counted, as well as claims to have definitive proof of voter fraud by the Biden campaign. (No such proof has been produced.)
Facebook, unlike Twitter, has not visibly limited engagement with Trump content. However, it has added fact-check boxes to all posts Trump has made since the election, including his most recent ones. “As expected, election results have taken longer this year. The US has laws, procedures, and established institutions to ensure the integrity of our elections,” reads the label attached to his video clip posts.
Update 8:50AM ET: Added statement from Twitter.