In a recent series of Tweets, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey defended his recent decision to “fact check” and place warnings on two of President Donald Trump’s tweets. According to Dorsey, Twitter “fact checking” the president does not make the company an “arbiter of truth,” claiming that instead, the site was attempting to “connect the dots of conflicting statements.”
Breitbart News recently reported that on May 26, Twitter added a “fact check” label to a pair of tweets from President Trump expressing widely-held concerns about mail-in ballots increasing the risk of voter fraud. The “fact check” link, which urged users to “get the facts about mail-in ballots,” directed users to a Twitter “moment” — a collection of links and tweets, handpicked by Twitter employees.
The “moment,” intended to fact-check the President, was filled with establishment media articles from CNN, the Washington Post and other outlets, baselessly asserting that Trump was lying about mail-in ballots. This is reportedly the first time the social media platform has branded Trump’s tweets with a link to a “fact check” of this type.
Now, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is defending his actions, stating in a recent tweet: “Fact check: there is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that’s me. Please leave our employees out of this. We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make.”
His tweet is in response to articles from Breitbart News and other outlets highlighting the posts of Twitter employee Yoel Roth, whose official job title is “Head of Site Integrity,” who authored a blog post outlining the platform’s new policy used to “fact check” Trump. Roth has a history of tweeting misinformation, such as claiming there are “actual Nazis” in the White House.
Yes, that person in the pink hat is clearly a bigger threat to your brand of feminism than ACTUAL NAZIS IN THE WHITE HOUSE.
— Yoel Roth (@yoyoel) January 22, 2017
Dorsey went on to state that this does not make Twitter an “arbiter of truth,” claiming that instead, the site was attempting to “connect the dots of conflicting statements.”
This does not make us an “arbiter of truth.” Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves. More transparency from us is critical so folks can clearly see the why behind our actions.
— jack (@jack) May 28, 2020
Dorsey attempted to clarify why Twitter fact-checked the President’s tweets, writing: “Per our Civic Integrity policy (https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/election-integrity-policy…), the tweets yesterday may mislead people into thinking they don’t need to register to get a ballot (only registered voters receive ballots). We’re updating the link on @realDonaldTrump’s tweet to make this more clear.”
Per our Civic Integrity policy (https://t.co/uQ0AoPtoCm), the tweets yesterday may mislead people into thinking they don’t need to register to get a ballot (only registered voters receive ballots). We’re updating the link on @realDonaldTrump’s tweet to make this more clear.
— jack (@jack) May 28, 2020
Twitter received criticism from multiple parties for its decision, including from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who stated that Facebook and Twitter “shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online.” Zuckerberg also commented on President Trump’s threat to regulate or close down platforms that are unfairly censoring users by stating that the government censoring platforms “because they’re worried about censorship doesn’t exactly strike me as the right reflex there.”
Zuckerberg added: “I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online. I think, in general, private companies probably shouldn’t be, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”
Twitter also failed to disclose that it has partnered with groups promoting mail-in ballots when it chose to “fact-check” the President’s tweets. Breitbart News recently reported:
It may be instructive that Twitter seized on the mail-in balloting tweets as the first issue from Trump’s rapid fire social media feed to slap with a fact-check label. Twitter did not disclose in its so-called fact-check it is partners with two groups financed by leftist donors that engage in voter participation efforts, including drives pushing mail-in balloting.
Twitter sits on the “Premier Partner” list of one of those groups alongside ViacomCBS, the merger of Viacom and CBS. Twitter’s so-called fact-check about Trump’s mail-in balloting cited CBS political reporter Grace Segers vouching for mail-in voting.
Analysts have posited such proposals help the Democratic Party. Republicans specifically fear the prospect of voter fraud, since mail-in voting would be harder to authenticate.
Read more at Breitbart News here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org