Twitter fact-checking Donald Trump is "such a big deal": politics expert explains

27 May 2020, 15:43 | Updated: 27 May 2020, 15:46

By Fiona Jones

This politics reporter and commentator explains why Twitter fact-checking Donald Trump is "such a big deal."

Donald Trump has threatened to "strongly regulate, or close down" social media because Republicans feel it doesn't represent their views.

This after Twitter added fact-check labels on the US President's false claim that postal ballots were fraudulent and rigging elections against Republicans.

"This is a big moment because this is the first time ever that Twitter has fact-checked a tweet by Donald Trump in this way," said political journalist Joey D'Urso.

"When you have someone who's really powerful like that, if they tweet something that isn't true it's a huge debate of should you remove it or flag it. And Twitter for the first time have decided that they're doing that with the President's tweets which is a really big deal.

"There's obviously an election coming up in November so it could mean we see more of this."

Shelagh cited his opponents who say Mr Trump uses various methods to oppress voting: "The bottom line is when you have a very powerful voice as he does, to use it to completely denigrate a whole method of voting just months away from an American general election, it seems appropriate to me that Twitter has done this."

Mr D'Urso said Twitter's action has come under their policy of integrity of elections - although the social media platform have not put fact-check labels on the President's coronavirus tweets. He cited the tweets that suggested bleach injections as a potential virus cure and his tweets promoting hydroxychloroquine as the "miracle drug."

The President claimed: "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."

Under the First Amendment, Americans' free speech is protected, making it unclear if the President would be able to remove something that by design, encourages free speech and the wider communication of people who use it.

Social media is also something which encompasses the globe, again making it unclear how Trump could shut them down.