Tensions between President Trump and Twitter escalated Wednesday as he threatened to “strongly regulate” or shut down social media platforms, which he accused of silencing conservative viewpoints.
Trump’s threat came the day after Twitter added a fact-check warning to his tweets claiming that mail-in ballots are fraudulent.
“Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “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.”
It’s unclear what Trump could do to crack down on social media platforms, but the power of Silicon Valley tech giants has been the subject of investigations by federal and state agencies as well as congressional hearings.
Trump, who uses Twitter as his primary form of communicating, has long accused Facebook and Twitter of censoring conservative views. “We’re not going to be silenced,” he said last summer at a White House meeting with conservative social media personalities.
In June 2019, Twitter created a warning label to flag and suppress political tweets that break its rules on acceptable speech. And earlier this month, the company announced it would label “potentially harmful” tweets about the coronavirus.
In October, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that his social media platform will stop running political ads, citing online ads’ “significant risks to politics.”
In congressional testimony in 2018, Dorsey said, “Twitter does not use political ideology to make any decisions. … We believe strongly in being impartial, and we strive to enforce our rules impartially.”
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