With key wins notched in a few states, Trump didn’t declare victory prematurely on election night as social media companies feared — but he did baselessly raise the specter of voter fraud.
“We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election,” Trump tweeted. “We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!”
Twitter took action against the tweet quickly, placing it behind a warning and adding a misinformation label. The company explained its actions in a tweet, stating that the president’s message contained a “potentially misleading claim about an election.”
We placed a warning on a Tweet from @realDonaldTrump for making a potentially misleading claim about an election. This action is in line with our Civic Integrity Policy. More here: https://t.co/k6OkjNXEAm
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) November 4, 2020
Social media companies began crafting new policies for the unusual circumstances of the 2020 election and its worrisome misinformation ecosystem in the months leading up to November. Due to a huge spike in mail-in voting related to the pandemic, results were expected to be more ambiguous on election night in 2020 than in past years and so far that’s proven true.
Twitter also said in a September policy announcement that it would remove or label any tweets that incite unlawful activity in order to “prevent a peaceful transfer of power or orderly succession.”
While tweets that Twitter restricts remain online, they’re placed behind a warning message that users must first click through in order to view their content. Restricted tweets also have their retweets, likes and comments disabled, reducing their reach.