On Tuesday, President Donald Trump went off on the Democrats and their attempts to turn the 2020 election into an all-mail-in affair, complete with all of the opportunities fraudsters needs to tilt the results any way they might choose.
“There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent,” tweeted the president. “Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed.”
Instead of giving Trump space to air his opinions and predictions about this scheme, Twitter took it upon themselves to throw their objectivity away and slap a “fact check” label on the tweet. This label linked to a paragraph assuring users that there was “no evidence” of widespread fraud connected to mail-in voting, all but suggesting that the president is lying to the American people.
Predictably, this raised Trump’s ire. “@Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election. They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post.”
In addition to sticking their noses in where they aren’t wanted and don’t belong, Twitter actually made a fool of themselves by trying to “fact check” the president.
First of all, since this is the first tweet that they’ve done this to, we assume that every single thing that Trump has written up till this Tuesday is 100% true. That certainly goes against what his critics in the mainstream media have been saying for the last four years.
Second, Twitter is endangering their status as a “platform,” which gives them all kinds of liability protections that would not be available to them if they were deemed a “publisher.” Right now, Twitter is exempt from defamation and libel lawsuits based on what people on their platform say. They aren’t responsible for what’s written there. But if they’re going to wade into the fray and start labeling posts true and false, then that may change in a hurry.
Finally, if Twitter is going to fact-check the President of the United States, they should probably make sure they have their facts straight. In 2005, a bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform found that “absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud” in the United States. Just this week, in fact, the Alabama secretary of State confirmed that 83% of the voter fraud his state has seen in the last five years has come from mail-in ballots.
Maybe it’s too much to ask that Twitter fact-check their fact-checks. And, to be clear, we’re actually NOT asking them to do so. We’d much prefer they go back to minding their own business and letting people do their own research. But if they want to take on this burden, they need to be prepared. So far, they’ve only succeeded in embarrassing themselves.