Twitter will fact-check Trump like anyone else after January 20

Social media company flags potentially misleading statements from the president as a world leader, but may remove such posts after he leaves office

US President Donald Trump will be subject to the same Twitter rules as any other user when president-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20, the social media company has confirmed.

Twitter places “public interest” notices on some rule-breaking tweets from world leaders that would otherwise be removed. Such tweets from political candidates and elected or government officials are instead hidden by a warning and Twitter takes action to restrict their reach.

This image taken from Twitter shows a page from @realDonaldTrump on November 7, 2020, with flagged tweets. US President Donald Trump, whose bid for reelection looked increasingly unlikely, showed no signs of conceding, blasting off a series of morning tweets decrying what he called "illegally received" votes in Pennsylvania and other "razor thin" states. Those tweets were flagged and masked by the messaging platform as containing potentially misleading content. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / Twitter" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
 / AFP / TWITTER / - / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / Twitter" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

But the company said this rule does not apply to former heads of state or prime ministers.

“This policy framework applies to current world leaders and candidates for office, and not private citizens when they no longer hold these positions,” a Twitter spokesman said.

It has added warnings and labels to tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account, including many since Tuesday’s election that made unfounded allegations of voting fraud.

It first hid one of his tweets behind a “public interest” label in May when the president contravened the company’s policy against glorifying violence.

Under Facebook Inc’s policies, it appears that after Mr Biden takes office in January, Mr Trump’s posts will also lose their exemption from review by the site’s third-party fact-checking partners.

Facebook’s online policy says it defines politicians, whose posts are exempt from fact-checking, as candidates running for office, current office-holders and many of their Cabinet appointees, along with political parties and their leaders.

It says: “Former candidates for office or former officials continue to be covered by our third-party fact-checking programme.”

Facebook did not reply to questions about how it would treat Trump’s account.

Mr Biden’s victory on Saturday in Pennsylvania put the Democratic presidential candidate over the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes needed to clinch the presidency. Republican Mr Trump has not conceded and has vowed to challenge the outcome in court.

EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS