President Trump will sign an executive order on social media on Thursday, the White House said.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday she could not get ahead of the president to explain the purpose and intent of the order, but confirmed it would be coming then.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump warned social media giants that the federal government could “strongly regulate” or “close them down” if they continue to “silence conservative voices,” amid his flaring battle with Twitter after the platform fact-checked one of his tweets for the first time this week.
“Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices,” Trump tweeted. “We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen. We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016. We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that happen again.”
The president added: “Just like we can’t let large scale Mail-In Ballots take root in our Country. It would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots. Whoever cheated the most would win. Likewise, Social Media. Clean up your act, NOW!!!!”
He later tweeted: "Twitter has now shown that everything we have been saying about them (and their other compatriots) is correct. Big action to follow!"
This comes after Twitter on Tuesday slapped a warning label on one of Trump’s tweets referring to mail-in ballots, cautioning readers that despite the president’s claims, “fact-checkers” say there is “no evidence” that mail-in voting would increase fraud risks and that “experts say mail-in ballots are very rarely linked to voter fraud.”
The president, within minutes of the platform's labeling, accused Twitter of “interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post,” while adding that the Twitter is “completely stifling FREE SPEECH,” and vowing that “I, as President, will not allow that to happen.”
Twitter’s new warning label was issued even though a Twitter spokesperson acknowledged to Fox News that Trump’s tweet had not broken any of the platform’s rules, and even though some other experts have raised fraud concerns surrounding mail-in voting.
The warning label came after Trump tweeted: "There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed. 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. That will be followed up with professionals telling all of these people, many of whom have never even thought of voting before, how, and for whom, to vote. This will be a Rigged Election. No way!!"
Within hours, Twitter then appended a label to the bottom of the tweet reading: "Get the facts about mail-in ballots.”
Clicking that label brought readers to a paragraph saying: "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."
Twitter went on to note in a "What to Know" section that "fact-checkers say there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud" and that "Trump falsely claimed that California will send mail-in ballots to 'anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there.' In fact, only registered voters will receive ballots."
Twitter acknowledged Trump's tweet "is not in violation of the Twitter Rules as it does not directly try to dissuade people from voting -- it does, however, contain misleading information about the voting process, specifically mail-in ballots, and we’re offering more context to the public."
The warning label was only the latest example conservatives cite as demonstrating a bias on the platform. Just two months ago, Twitter flagged a video uploaded by the Trump campaign as "manipulated media," only to rebuff the campaign's efforts to have the platform flag a similar video uploaded by the Biden team.
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