It looks like Twitter’s finally had enough of US President Donald Trump‘s abuse of its platform. Today, keen observers may have noticed the president‘s @realDonaldTrump Twitter account has been splashed with a couple of fact-checking embeds on tweets where he’s attempted to misinform the US voting public by lying about the mail-in ballot process.
To the best of our knowledge this is the first time Twitter’s embedded links in the president’s tweets. The result comes after a Memorial Day weekend where the platform saw Trump spend a significant amount of time lashing out at his perceived enemies, including a critic he baselessly accused of murdering his wife.
It’s no surprise the president’s suddenly become unhinged over the idea of mail-in ballots. He should be. It’s a political reality that Republican candidates, especially for the presidency, fair far poorer when more people are able to vote. What’s shockingly ironic is that this of all issues is the one Twitter would put its foot down over. Snail mail ballots? Really @Jack? Okay.
Quick take: Resistance is futile. Unless Twitter is going to back this up with the kind of fact-checking operation and human resources that Facebook’s always trying to convince us it’s about to unveil, we can expect this to be a brief hiccup in an otherwise uninterrupted stream of misinformation.
I’d like to say this was a step in the right direction, but I’m jaded and it just feels like this is nothing but a breath of fresh drama to make the ludicrous right remember that it was unsuccessfully trying to convince the world that conservatives were being censored by big tech.
At any rate, if you’re the type of person who is still unsure if you should believe what Donald Trump tweets (Kimmy Schmidt? Is that you?) you can get the straight dope on mail-in balloting from Twitter itself. The link in Trump’s tweet goes to an events page with the following text:
Trump makes unsubstantiated claim that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud
On Tuesday, President Trump made a series of claims about potential voter fraud after California Governor Gavin Newsom announced an effort to expand mail-in voting in California during the COVID-19 pandemic. These claims are unsubstantiated, according to CNN, Washington Post and others. Experts say mail-in ballots are very rarely linked to voter fraud.
What follows are links to relevant tweets from major media outlets and various digital placards with “what you need to know” and other useful info on them. Hilariously, Twitter uses a CNN photo of Trump looking particularly spray-painted as its featured image for the page.
We’ll give Jack and his team credit where it’s due on that one, but if they don’t follow through from here on out it’ll all be meaningless.