Twitter on Wednesday obscured multiple tweets by President Donald Trump related to election results as vote counting continues in several states. The social network also hid a tweet sent late Tuesday by Trump claiming that his re-election bid was “up BIG” and that his political opponents were “trying to steal the election.”
Twitter said it placed the warning on Trump’s tweet Tuesday night, which provided no support to back his claim, “for making a potentially misleading claim about an election.” The president later reiterated the message during a press conference in which he falsely claimed he had won the election. “This is a fraud on the American public,” Trump said without providing evidence. “This is an embarrassment to our country.”
The same label was placed over a tweet and retweet from Trump on Wednesday appeared to question updated vote totals in battleground states. Vote counts in some states have been delayed because of the overwhelming number of mail-in ballots turned in due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The social network’s actions are in line with its Civic Integrity Policy, said a Twitter spokesperson on Wednesday, adding that it would “significantly restrict engagements” on flagged tweets.
Twitter has been labeling and reducing the reach of tweets that contain unverified or false claims about voter fraud. The company labeled several tweets from Mike Roman, the Trump campaign’s director of Election Day operations, that contained misleading claims about voting. In one tweet that was labeled with a notice stating, “Learn about US 2020 election security efforts,” Roman falsely claims that Democrat election officials are banning Trump poll watchers in Philadelphia. “The steal is on!,” he tweeted.
Facebook also couched Trump’s statement on Tuesday evening, pointing out that “final results may be different from initial vote counts, as ballot counting will continue for days or weeks.” Facebook added the same label to Trump’s posts on Wednesday.
The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Votes still being counted
Social networks prepared for the possibility that some politicians may try to declare victory before the results are projected. Trump reportedly told confidants he would declare victory on election night if he appeared to be ahead, Axios reported on Sunday.
On Wednesday morning, Twitter obscured a tweet from Ben Wikler, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, that called the state as a win for Biden, saying the tweet is “disputed and might be misleading.”
Twitter and Facebook have both created new labels to warn that the votes are still being counted. Both say they plan to direct their users to authoritative information.
Facebook clarified its rule late Tuesday, exempting Trump or other individuals who claim victory for a candidate in battleground states before votes are counted. The social network told the Wall Street Journal that its prohibition against premature declarations of victory on its platform was only meant to apply to the result of the presidential election, not individual states.
Facebook didn’t respond to a request for comment.
CNET’s Queenie Wong contributed to this report.