It’s the first time Twitter has slapped a label on the president’s tweets.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-in-Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent,” a claim that has been debunked by fact-checkers and news organizations. He continues his remarks in another tweet, stating that it will be a “Rigged election.”
A label appears under both tweets that states “Get the facts about mail-in ballots.” Clicking on the warning notice directs users to a page that state that fact-checkers say there isn’t any evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud.
A Twitter spokeswoman said in a statement that the decision is in line with how the company plans to approach misinformation on its site, which includes adding warning notices and labels depending on the likelihood and severity of harm a tweet could cause.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Twitter’s move comes on the same day that the company came under fire for not removing tweets by Trump that falsely suggest Joe Scarborough, a former US congressman, may have murdered staffer Lori Klausutis in 2001. Klausutis died when she was 28 years old after she suffered from an abnormal heart rhythm, fell and hit her head on a desk, according to Politifact. Timothy Klausutis, Lori’s husband, wrote a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on May 21 asking the company to pull down Trump’s tweets, but the company said that it didn’t violate its rules.
It’s unclear how well Twitter’s fact-checking labels work, which the company started rolling out on May 11. Twitter has been using automated technology to add labels to misleading tweets about the coronavirus too. CNET found Twitter was making scores of mistakes including labeling tweets that include news articles and denounce the conspiracy theory that 5G causes the coronavirus.
Both of Trump’s tweets about mail-in ballots were retweeted more than 37,600 times and garnered roughly 131,800 likes combined as of Tuesday afternoon.
There’s also no way for user’s to appeal Twitter’s decision to add a label to their tweet. Users also don’t get notified when their tweets get labeled for sharing misleading or disputed information.
MIT researchers have also found that labeling false news could result in users believing stories that hadn’t gotten labels even if they contained misinformation in what’s called the “implied truth effect.”