Twitter has found itself in the middle of a storm with one of its most-popular users: the President of the United States.
The social media company added fact-checking clarifications to two of Trump’s tweets and the fallout has been spectacular.
On Tuesday, the US president had two tweets from his account flagged with a fact-check warning for the first time after he called US postal voting ‘fraudulent’.
Under the tweets, there is now a link which reads ‘Get the facts about mail-in ballots’ and guides users to a Twitter page with fact checks and news stories about Mr Trump’s unsubstantiated claims.
The President is now reportedly planning to sign an executive order that will have massive implications for social media companies in the US.
He wants to order federal regulators to rethink a law that largely makes social media companies like Twitter and Facebook exempt from responsibility over what users post.
How Donald Trump is planning to ‘shut down’ Twitter
Donald Trump is set to sign an executive order targeting social media firms with more regulation after Twitter added fact-check links to his tweets.
White House officials said he would be singing the order on Thursday but gave no further information on what is expected in it.
The Washington Post reported it will order federal regulators to review Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides online platforms with vital protection from liability for content posted by their users.
Such changes could expose tech companies to more lawsuits.
Federal regulators could also be given responsibility for investigating complaints of political bias to determine whether tech companies’ content-moderation policies conflict with their pledges for neutrality, US media reports.
Twitter has tightened its policies in recent years after coming under criticism for not doing enough to stop fake accounts and misinformation spreading.
Mr Trump wrote a similar post on Facebook post about mail-in ballots on Tuesday, and no such warnings were applied.
In response, Twitter boss Jack Dorsey has defended his company and the accusation he is editing free speech.
Twitter has generally exempted political leaders from some of its rules, arguing that publishing controversial tweets from politicians encourages discussion and helps hold leaders accountable.
However, it did update its policies last year, confirming it would add warning labels to tweets from politicians which it found to breach the site’s rules.
The social media platform is also under pressure to take action against another set of recent Trump tweets, which repeated a debunked conspiracy theory that Lori Kaye Klausutis, a woman who died in the Florida office of former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough, was murdered by him.
Her widower Timothy Klausutis wrote to Twitter boss Jack Dorsey last week asking him to ‘please delete these tweets’ and said Mr Trump’s promotion of the conspiracy theory around his wife’s death was ‘bile and misinformation’.
Mr Trump has repeatedly tried to implicate Mr Scarborough in the death even though he was in Washington, not Florida, at the time.
Medical officials ruled Mrs Klausutis, who had a heart condition and told friends hours earlier that she was not feeling well, had fainted and hit her head.
Mr Scarborough, now a US TV host, has publicly feuded with the president in the past and as a result has been a regular target of the US president on social media.
Twitter said it was ‘deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family’, but did not say if it would take action against Mr Trump’s tweets.
Currently, Mr Trump has over 80 million followers on Twitter.
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