Twitter, Facebook crack down on pro-Trump content

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 Social media platforms have aggressively cracked down on President Trump and his supporters, particularly because of posts and content about alleged voter fraud in the 2020 election. 

Twitter has tagged or restricted the visibility of more than a dozen of Mr. Trump’s tweets since Election Day began. Twitter’s latest push against Mr. Trump began in the early hours of Wednesday after the president said he thought he had won reelection.

“Twitter is out of control, made possible through the government gift of Section 230!” Mr. Trump tweeted on Friday. 

Section 230 is a reference to a provision of the Communications Decency Act that provides protection from legal liability for content posted by users on social media platforms, which Mr. Trump and his allies want to overhaul. 

Twitter has also restricted the visibility of tweets from users posting video clips purporting to show election officials engaged in alleged wrongdoing nationwide. Georgia Republican Party chair David Shafer said on Twitter that his party’s lawyers had asked the Fulton County Board of Elections to investigate a video posted on Twitter that appeared to show a poll worker in Atlanta who gets frustrated while working. Fulton County includes parts of Atlanta. 

Twitter restricted the visibility of Mr. Shafer’s tweet that said GOP lawyers were asking election officials to investigate the video and placed a warning tag on it too. 

Twitter is not the only social media company intervening. Facebook has taken action on its platforms to counteract Mr. Trump’s claims and interrupt his supporters assembling nationwide. 

Facebook also took cracked down after Mr. Trump’s Wednesday morning claim that he thought he was victorious. Facebook displayed “Votes Are Still Being Counted” notifications on both Facebook and Instagram in direct response to Mr. Trump. 

Then Facebook removed from its platform the group ‘Stop the Steal,’ organized by the pro-Trump nonprofit, Women for America First. The group had gathered 350,000 followers in under 24 hours before Facebook deleted it, according to its creator, Women for America First co-founder Amy Kremer.

“In line with the exceptional measures that we are taking during this period of heightened tension, we have removed the Group ‘Stop the Steal,’ which was creating real-world events,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “The group was organized around the delegitimization of the election process, and we saw worrying calls for violence from some members of the group.”

Other conservative groups such as FreedomWorks and Tea Party Patriots have assembled their activists at ‘protect the vote’ rallies outside vote-counting sites in key battleground states and have not experienced the same treatment as the ‘Stop the Steal’ crowd. 

Executives at Facebook and Twitter will be forced to defend themselves at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing next week, when Republican lawmakers are expected to grill the Big Tech CEOs about their handling of content surrounding the election. 

The social media companies are expected to stress that they put an emphasis on targeting all users who made premature declarations of victory. Twitter, for example, flagged tweets from Democrats such as failed presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who tweeted that Joseph R. Biden was the president-elect before news outlets projected a winner.   

Not every Big Tech platform has chosen to limit speech it views as false or offensive from Mr. Trump’s allies in the aftermath of Election Day. YouTube, which is owned by Google, said it decided against taking down a video published by the conservative One America News Network, which claimed Mr. Trump had won the election and alleged that Democrats had discarded Republican ballots. 

However, YouTube did remove ads from the video because the company said it believed the video included false content about elections.

 

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