Donald Trump's tweets superimposed on an image of him smirking.

Twitter Added a Fact-Checking Label to Donald Trump’s Tweets for the First Time & He Flipped Out

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For the first time ever, Twitter added a fact-checking label to a few of Donald Trump’s tweets. The platform has been experimenting with adding these labels to false or misleading statements in regard to certain political topics, so when Trump tweeted Tuesday that “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent,” Twitter added a link where users can “get the facts about mail-in ballots.”

Back in March, Twitter labeled one of Trump’s posts as “manipulated media” after he retweeted a doctored video of Joe Biden, but this is the first time he’s gotten a fact-checking link.

Two tweets from Donald Trump

via Twitter

And that’s all Twitter did—just an unobtrusive little link at the bottom of the tweets so people could make sure they’re informed. They didn’t take the tweets down. They didn’t directly refute Trump’s baseless claim that “Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed” or his straight-up lie that “The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one.” (Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to send absentee ballots to all registered voters in the state—meaning all the existing requirements for voter registration, like citizenship, still apply.)

And yet even that was enough to send Trump spiraling. A few hours after posting his original tweets, he wrote that Twitter “is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election. They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post.”

“Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!” he added.

I can’t believe we have to go over this yet again but Twitter, being a company and not a governmental agency, cannot stifle “free speech.” If Trump, on the other hand, being president, takes issue with Twitter’s decision to fact-check his statements and threatens to “not allow it to happen”—the implication being that he’s going to take some sort of control over what Twitter puts on its platform as retaliation—that does risk stifling their First Amendment rights. Big difference!

(image: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.