A tweet by US President Donald Trump has been marked by Twitter with a warning for the first time ever after its unsubstantiated claims were debunked by fact checkers.
In a post published yesterday Trump said there was “NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent”.
In the post, which refers to plans to roll out postal votes for the 2020 presidential election in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus, Trump claimed that “mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed”.
But Twitter placed a warning label on the tweet, allowing users to “get the facts about mail-in ballots”.
The president hit back at the social media platform, accusing it of interfering in the election.
“Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!” he wrote.
The move marks a sharp ramping up of control by Twitter amid concerns about the proliferation of misinformation during the Covid-19 crisis.
While Twitter has previously deleted tweets by the presidents of Brazil and Venezuela for spreading false information about Covid-19, it has been reluctant to intervene in posts by other major world leaders.
The site, which is Trump’s major platform for communicating his thoughts, said it had taken action against the US president’s tweet under its new policy on misleading information.
The fact checking tag, which appears in blue below the tweet with an exclamation mark, takes users through to a separate page with more information about the topic.
This contains a precis of a CNN article debunking the claims followed by a “what you need to know” section addressing three claims made in the tweet.