A New Conundrum for Fact-Checking Trump on Twitter

But when President Trump posted a veiled risk in January that Representative Adam Schiff, Democrat of California, had “not paid the price, yet” for serving to to spearhead an impeachment inquiry in opposition to him, Twitter didn’t put a warning on the tweet.

On Tuesday, Twitter’s handling of Mr. Trump’s tweets — or what some say has been a startling lack of handling — again came to the fore.

Twitter creating a carve-out for public leaders is “misguided,” said Joan Donovan, research director at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, who studies disinformation. “If world leaders are not kept to the same standard as everyone else, they wield more power to harass, defame and silence others.”

Twitter is in a tough spot, Ms. Donovan added. If it removed the president’s tweets, he could open an investigation into Twitter or fast-track regulations on the company. But allowing his tweets to remain could keep spreading the misinformation, she said.

Yet Mr. Dorsey has appeared unwilling to tackle Mr. Trump’s tweets even though disinformation experts said political tweets from world leaders often reach a wider audience than political ads and have a greater power to misinform.

“We are deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family,” a Twitter spokesman, Nick Pacilio, said in a statement. “We’ve been working to expand existing product features and policies so we can more effectively address things like this going forward, and we hope to have those changes in place shortly.” The company declined further comment.

Some of the renewed criticism appeared to push Twitter to act. On Tuesday afternoon, it marked two of Mr. Trump’s tweets about mail-in ballots with a “Get the facts” link to more information.

For years, Twitter took a hands-off approach to moderating the posts on its platform. That brought it acclaim when it enabled dissidents to tweet about political protests, like the Egyptian revolution in 2011. But it also allowed trolls, bots and malicious operatives onto the site, making Twitter an epicenter for harassment, misinformation and abuse.

But Mr. Trump himself has escaped enforcement. Although he has sometimes deleted his own tweets when they contain misspellings, Twitter has largely left his posts alone.

That hands-off treatment has been controversial inside Twitter. In 2017, a rogue Twitter worker deactivated Mr. Trump’s account. The account was reinstated in about 10 minutes.

Twitter has maintained that Mr. Trump does not violate its policies and that the company would take action if he crossed the line.

Source link Nytimes.com

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