Before Joe Biden was eventually declared winner of the election on Saturday, securing Pennsylvania’s crucial 20 electoral college votes, Twitter users have watched the current president attack the integrity of the election for days, stating that illegal ballots are being counted, legal observers are not permitted to watch, and that ballots are missing.
No evidence has been provided by Mr Trump to substantiate these claims.
Twitter has been blocking the view of Trump’s misleading tweets with a message that states: “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process”.
In September, Twitter announced that it would be labelling Tweets from election night that prematurely or inaccurately call the election, or state misinformation about the civic process. So far, this has been applied to Trump’s tweets 17 times since election night.
Twitter has told The Independent that this approach to quell disinformation is working, with the use of labels and warnings significantly reducing engagements with misleading content.
One tweet included in a stream of Tweets by the current president on Friday stated that he can “easily WIN the Presidency of the United States with LEGAL VOTES CAST. The OBSERVERS were not allowed, in any way, shape, or form, to do their job and therefore, votes accepted during this period must be determined to be ILLEGAL VOTES. U.S. Supreme Court should decide!”.
Twitter marked this tweet as containing misinformation, one of four such outputs on that day.
Another that was flagged on Satruday stated that “Tens of thousands of votes were illegally received after 8 P.M. on Tuesday, Election Day”.
Such incidents would normally result in an account being banned, according to Twitter’s civic integrity policy. However, public figures – including the current president of the United States – are protected by the site’s “public-interest exception” policy.
In such cases, Twitter keeps the tweets online, but with a public advisory notice stopping them from being immediately viewable.
Many senior Democrats have called for Trump to be banned from Twitter, with Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly tweeting: “Suspend his account, @Twitter. This is pure disinformation. Valid votes are being counted. This is America, not Russia.”
Twitter has committed to squashing the spread of harmful disinformation by reducing the visibility of tweets that contain false or misleading information about civic processes including; misleading information about how to participate, voter suppression and intimidation, misleading information about electoral outcomes, and false or misleading affiliation of the author of the tweet.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies