President Donald Trump is already a well-known, seemingly unstoppable voice in the virtual Twitter world. However, Twitter itself silenced one of his recent arguments regarding the mail voting system.
More precisely, Mr. Trump claimed that the Supreme Court decision of allowing extra time until Pennsylvania postal ballots arrive is ‘a VERY dangerous one.’ He went on to say that this decision would allow cheating and even destroy the American system of laws. Lastly, Mr. Trump added that this decision could trigger acts on violence on the streets.
You can see the tweet right here:
The Supreme Court decision on voting in Pennsylvania is a VERY dangerous one. It will allow rampant and unchecked cheating and will undermine our entire systems of laws. It will also induce violence in the streets. Something must be done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2020
The Supreme Court decision, explained
As I’ve previously said in this post, 2020 shows a record number of in-mail ballots compared to previous elections; over 100 million Americans opted for absentee ballots mainly due to the Coronavirus pandemic safety measures.
Although many states were already able to count postal ballots even after Election Day, the surprisingly large amount of absentee voters this year raised concerns that not all votes would be counted in time.
Consequently, a lower court in Pennsylvania decided to extend the state’s deadline for receiving mail-in ballots by a few days only for votes that were postmarked by Election Day (Nov. 3). Although Mr. Trump disagreed with the measure, the Supreme Court still approved the lower court’s decision to proceed with vote counting post-Election Day.
Looking back at the U.S. history, voting fraud has been extremely rare and so far there are no suspicions regarding fraud this year. However, Donald Trump continues to condemn mail-in voting as an unsecured method which would be prone to massive voter fraud.
While state officials are still counting their votes, many Republicans have already filed an impressive amount of legal cases against alternative types of voting in many U.S. states.
Why Twitter and Facebook are labeling posts
Two of the biggest social media giants, Facebook and Twitter, have tightened their policies around politics and election misinformation, including voting methods and results.
For example, a Twitter policy specifically says that no Presidential candidate can claim a victory online before an official realistic bar is set. Facebook didn’t reveal its policy regarding results, but it does ban any ads claiming an early victory; representatives also declared that they have a range of ‘break-glass’ emergency options ready if needed.
But are the two social media platforms truly ready for a potential massive number of misinformation posts and contested election results? Well, that’s where The Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) steps in.
EIP is a coalition of giant internet and pro-democracy groups currently preparing to take action for deluging misinformation as soon as the polls close.
According to EIP, Mr. Trump’s tweets regarding mail-in voting are ‘fomenting fear of violence’ as they’re part of a bigger strategy to reduce the U.S. population’s trust in the legitimacy of elections.
Social media reacted quickly
Twitter has replaced Mr. Trump’s mail-in voting post with a warning message saying that it is ‘disputed and might be misleading’ for the 2020 Presidential Elections.
However, only 40 minutes after posting, Mr. Trump’s tweet had been retweeted a shocking 55,000 times and reached more than 126,000 likes (as per EIP).
While Facebook did not hide the post, it added a warning next to it claiming that “Both voting by mail and voting in person have a long history of trustworthiness in the US. Voter fraud is extremely rare across voting methods.”
Meanwhile, opponent Joe Biden tried to make the most out of his final campaigning hours before polling day by urging people to vote while they still can. The candidate also made several direct attacks and bold remarks regarding Mr. Trump’s record at the White House.
Is the virtual world ready to fight damage caused by misinformation? Our post on spreading misinformation discusses major issues on how information travels nowadays; you can check it out right here.