After Twitter gave one of President Trump’s tweets a modest reality check, the president threatened to “shut down” social media companies, personally targeted a Twitter employee, and signed an executive order that would affect the entire internet.
It’s the latest salvo in a long-simmering feud between the president and his favorite social media platform. Although he has more than 80 million followers and has been on Twitter since 2009, Trump has long complained about what he considers anti-conservative bias on the platform (but without citing evidence). Twitter had elected not to delete or modify Trump’s tweets, even when they violated its terms of service, until now. Facebook, in contrast, refused to remove posts similar to the president’s tweets.
The executive order is expected to face legal challenges.
Donald Trump is allowed to rejoin Twitter, Elon Musk has announced. Musk justified that decision based on the results of his own personal Twitter poll. The @realDonaldTrump account and its tweets are fully visible again, just days after Trump confirmed he will run for president again in 2024.Read Article >
Shortly after taking control of the social network, Musk said he wouldn’t be reinstating any banned accounts until the company had set up and convened a content moderation council with “widely diverse viewpoints.”
Jul 19, 2020
Twitter confirmed that it removed a campaign video President Trump had retweeted Saturday over a copyright complaint. The Linkin Park song “In the End” was featured in the background of the video, which included images of President Trump and excerpts from his inauguration speech.Read Article >
“Per our copyright policy, we respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by copyright owner or their authorized representative,” a Twitter spokesperson said in an email to The Verge on Sunday.
Jun 19, 2020
Twitter has labeled a video tweeted by President Trump as “manipulated media,” as first reported by The Washington Post. The label is primarily cosmetic, but represents a significant escalation in the ongoing feud between the president and his preferred social media platform.Read Article >
“This tweet has been labeled per our synthetic and manipulated media policy to give people more context,” Twitter spokeswoman Katie Rosborough told the Post.
Jun 6, 2020
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have all removed a Trump campaign video from their platforms after receiving copyright complaints, Reuters reported. The nearly four-minute video featured images of the late George Floyd of Minneapolis, who died May 25th after a police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. A video of the incident has prompted nationwide protests of police violence.Read Article >
Twitter disabled the video, while Facebook and Instagram removed posts containing the video. When President Trump objected to the removal in a tweet, calling it “illegal,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded: “Not true and not illegal. This was pulled because we got a DMCA complaint from copyright holder.”
Jun 2, 2020
President Donald Trump’s executive order targeting social media companies faced its first legal challenge Tuesday, claiming that Trump violated the companies’ rights to free speech.Read Article >
In its lawsuit, the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) called Trump’s order “retaliatory” because it specifically attacked Twitter for using its First Amendment right to comment and moderate the president’s tweets. By attacking Twitter, the organization claimed that Trump’s order could discourage other platforms from exercising their free speech rights to moderate the president’s posts out of fear of retaliation from the federal government.
Jun 1, 2020
Dozens of Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout on Monday in protest of the company’s decision not to take action against incendiary posts by President Donald Trump last week, according to The New York Times.Read Article >
The virtual walkout comes on the heels of a decision from Facebook not to take any action against a series of controversial posts from Trump last week, including one that seemed to threaten violence against protestors by saying, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter determined that the same message violated its rules against the glorification of violence last week, limiting the ability to view, like, reply, and retweet the post on its platform.
May 29, 2020
Facebook’s decision not to take action against recent posts about mail-in ballots and the Minnesota protests by President Trump is roiling employees, some of whom are calling on executives to reconsider their stance. In response to an internal post explaining the company’s rationale, some employees criticized the company’s neutral posture.Read Article >
“I have to say I am finding the contortions we have to go through incredibly hard to stomach,” one employee wrote in a comment about the shooting post. “All this points to a very high risk of a violent escalation and civil unrest in November and if we fail the test case here, history will not judge us kindly.”
May 29, 2020
This week, Twitter found the courage to finally deal with its most toxic user: the president of the United States. After giving one of Trump’s untrustworthy tweets a modest reality check, the president exploded in a tantrum. He threatened to “shut down” social media companies, and then personally targeted a Twitter employee to intimidate and harass him. Then, Trump quickly threatened Twitter with revenge by signing a scorched-earth executive order that would blow up the entire internet. Trump’s Republican lackeys, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Josh Hawley (R-MO), scurried to stroke the president’s ego with deceitful interpretations of law and threats to sue Twitter.Read Article >
Republicans who recently warned of a “government takeover of the internet” are now staging one in reverse — trying to turn the internet into the government.
Former Vice President Joe Biden still wants to repeal the pivotal internet law that provides social media companies like Facebook and Twitter with broad legal immunity over content posted by their users, a campaign spokesperson told The Verge Friday. Still, the campaign emphasized key disagreements with the executive order signed by the president earlier this week.Read Article >
Earlier this year, Biden told The New York Times that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act should be “revoked, immediately.” In recent days, President Donald Trump has reinvigorated a controversial debate over amending the foundational internet law after Twitter fact-checked one of his tweets for the first time. Over the last year, Trump and other congressional Republicans have grown concerned over the false idea that social media platforms actively moderate against conservative speech online.
May 29, 2020
President Donald Trump is constantly threatening tech companies with huge consequences and not following through. That includes social media sites, which he both obsessively uses and relentlessly berates for alleged “anti-Trump bias.” But this week, he went beyond the usual trash talk, issuing an executive order governing how websites can moderate content.Read Article >
The order follows a feud with Twitter after it fact-checked one of Trump’s tweets, but it’s been brewing since at least 2019 when a social media “bias” rule was rumored but never revealed. An unfinished draft of the order leaked on Wednesday, full of nonsensical demands and pointless blustering, with many dismissing the rule as simply illegal.
Twitter limited the reach of a second tweet from President Donald Trump this morning, as the White House and its allies sought to escalate their feud with the social media company.Read Article >
On Friday, Trump called people protesting the death of George Floyd in Minnesota “thugs.” The president continued, “Any difficulty and we will assume control, but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Shortly after the message was posted, Twitter determined that it violated rules involving the glorification of violence and placed a notice on the tweet. In doing so, the tweet is hidden from Trump’s timeline but is accessible once a user clicks a “view” button. Likes, retweets, and replies are all disabled from the tweet in an effort to limit its reach.
May 29, 2020
Twitter has placed a public interest notice on a tweet from President Trump for breaking the platform’s rules about the “glorification of violence.” However, Twitter has not chosen to remove the tweet from its platform entirely, because it believes it to be in the public interest. Twitter announced the notice in a tweet thread from its official comms account.Read Article >
The notice means that the tweet is hidden from Trump’s timeline, but is accessible if you visit the tweet directly after clicking a “view” button. The reach of the tweet will also be limited as part of the process. Although users can still retweet it with a comment, they cannot reply to it, retweet it directly, or like it. Twitter also says that its notice means that the tweet won’t be algorithmically recommended on its platform.
May 28, 2020
Today, President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order that would give the government huge new powers over the internet. As reported yesterday by The Washington Post, Trump will order the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission to roll back the liability protections enjoyed by tech companies under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. It’s a hugely ambitious proposal, arguably the biggest single attempt to regulate internet platforms, and for better or worse, it signals the beginning of an all-out war between Trump and any platform that tries to fact-check him.Read Article >
As Trump ominously put it on Twitter, “This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!”
May 27, 2020
From time to time a really bad post on a social network gets a lot of attention. Say a head of state falsely accuses a journalist of murder, or suggests that mail-in voting is illegal — those would be pretty bad posts, I think, and most people working inside and outside of the social network could probably agree on that. In my experience, though, average people and tech people tend to think very differently about what to do about a post like that. Today I want to talk about why.Read Article >
When an average person sees a very bad post on a social network, they may call for it to be removed immediately. They will justify this removal on moral grounds — keeping the post up, they will say, is simply indecent. To leave it up would reflect poorly on the moral character of everyone who works at the company, especially its top executives. Some will say the executives should resign in disgrace, or possibly be arrested. Congress may begin writing letters, and new laws will be proposed, so that such a bad post never again appears on the internet.
May 27, 2020
For years, Donald Trump’s fight against social media companies has been a one-man boxing match. He calls them out over bias, and they rewrite policies making him the one exception to their rules, taking care never to punch back. But on Tuesday, Twitter slapped back for the first time ever, labeling two tweets as making false and misleading claims about mail-in voting.Read Article >
On Wednesday morning, predictably, Trump hit back. In a series of early morning tweets, the president said he would “strongly regulate, or close [platforms] down” before he allowed them to stifle conservative speech. Trump did not explain the ways in which the federal government could regulate or shutter social media companies in his Wednesday morning tweets, but the fresh threats are lighting a fire under the feet of conservatives who believe, unjustly, that social media companies silence conservative voices and views. Soon after his first set of tweets Wednesday, Trump said to expect a “Big action to follow.”
May 27, 2020
The White House has set its sights on a single Twitter employee after the company attached a fact-checking link to two of the president’s tweets containing lies and misinformation related to voter fraud. The charge was led on Fox News Wednesday morning, with Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway targeting Twitter’s head of site integrity, Yoel Roth, after digging up some tweets that were critical of Trump, Conway, and the administration.Read Article >
Conway called the employee “horrible” and directed listeners to go after him. “Somebody in San Francisco go wake him up and tell him he’s about to get a lot more followers,” she said on air. Immediately, the call was picked up by right-wing personalities and Trump supporters, who began sharing screenshots of the employee’s tweets. Roth is already facing a torrent of abuse and harassment, including multiple death threats, reports Protocol.
May 26, 2020
On Tuesday, Twitter labeled two tweets from President Donald Trump making false statements about mail-in voting as “potentially misleading.” It’s the first time the platform has fact-checked the president.Read Article >
The label was imposed on two tweets Trump posted Tuesday morning falsely claiming that “mail-in ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent” and would result in “a rigged election.” The tweets focused primarily on California’s efforts to expand mail-in voting due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. On Sunday, the Republican National Committee sued California Governor Gavin Newsom over the state’s moves to expand mail-in voting.