Yesterday Twitter fact-checked a tweet from President Trump for the first time and in doing so set the expectation that it will fact-check disputed claims from politicians.
This expectation has opened Twitter up to potentially endless criticism from politicians, the media, and users of the platform who will now be judging Twitter by the new precedent it has set for itself.
“Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. 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. 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!!!!”
Trump followed this up a few hours later by tweeting that “big action” is coming for Twitter and “their other compatriots.”
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Reports that the Trump administration is planning to take action against online censorship had been circulating before Twitter fact-checked Trump for the first time.
Last week, news broke that Trump is considering forming a commission that would deal with social media platforms’ restriction of free speech and Vice President Mike Pence stated that the Trump administration is “not going to tolerate censorship on the internet and social media against conservatives.”
And before these recent announcements, Trump and his administration had been suggesting that they plan to tackle social media censorship for several years.
Twitter’s decision to fact-check President Trump is protected by the First Amendment and so far, nothing has come of Trump and his administration’s previous statements about tackling Big Tech censorship.
But by deciding to fact-check the President while ignoring disputed or false claims from other politicians, Twitter has significantly amplified the discontent among many users of these social media platforms who feel that they’re biased and have too much power.