Election 2020: Twitter, Facebook throttle Trump posts alleging election theft

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Twitter has placed sharing restrictions on a tweet from President Donald Trump, setting up a high-profile standoff between the president and the platform in the aftermath of Election Day. Facebook has added labels to the president’s posts, saying the final vote count isn’t in yet.

“We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election,” the message reads, on both platforms. “We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!”

Early returns were promising for the president, but a number of pivotal states are still counting votes, including Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. This work does not involve additional votes being cast, but instead deals with the unprecedented surge of mail-in ballots that have been officially cast but not yet counted.

“We placed a warning on a Tweet from @realDonaldTrump for making a potentially misleading claim about an election,” Twitter’s safety account said in a statement. “This action is in line with our Civic Integrity Policy.”

President Trump posted the same message to Facebook, where the platform added a label to the post noting that votes are still being counted and directing users to Facebook’s election information center. Facebook has not taken any measures to block the spread of the post within its network.

In a separate message on both platforms, Trump seemed to hint at a future announcement without going so far as to prematurely announce victory. “I will be making a statement tonight. A big WIN!” the post reads. Neither network has taken action against this second post.

Both Twitter and Facebook adopted explicit policies against premature victory announcements in September, and the policies seem to have been applied as they were laid out at the time. Since September 17th, Twitter’s misinformation policy has covered premature claims of victory, making them eligible to be removed by moderators. Facebook took a more measured approach, saying it would label posts involving the election and redirect viewers to authoritative info. Facebook also placed restrictions on paid promotion of election-related posts, ensuring that candidates can’t use the company’s ad network to boost the claims.

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