OAKLAND, Calif. — Twitter hid one of President Trump’s tweets behind a notice warning users that the message violated company rules against dissuading people from voting. Mr. Trump posted the tweet, which said that ballot drop boxes were not being sanitized to prevent the coronavirus and could be used for fraud, about five hours before Twitter took action on Sunday.
Twitter has begun enforcing its rules more strictly against Mr. Trump as the presidential election approaches. In May, Twitter added fact-check labels to two of Mr. Trump’s tweets that contained misinformation about mail-in voting.
Twitter escalated its efforts on Sunday, hiding Mr. Trump’s message behind a warning that said it “violated the Twitter Rules about civic and election integrity.” Twitter also restricted other users from sharing, liking or replying to the tweet, a move intended to prevent the message from spreading.
“We placed a public interest notice on this Tweet for violating our Civic Integrity Policy for making misleading health claims that could potentially dissuade people from participation in voting,” a Twitter representative tweeted. A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Twitter’s recent efforts to crack down when Mr. Trump posts misinformation have been met with condemnation by the president and his allies, who have accused Twitter of suppressing conservative voices.
In late May, Mr. Trump signed an executive order directing federal regulators to crack down on social media companies like Twitter and to consider taking away the legal protections that shield them from liability for what gets posted on their platforms.
“They’ve had unchecked power to censure, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter virtually any form of communication between private citizens or large public audiences,” Mr. Trump said during the signing of the executive order.
The executive order is facing legal challenges and may prove difficult to enforce.
The 2016 presidential election exposed problems at social media companies, as they learned that foreign interference had been widespread on their platforms. Twitter, Facebook and other major companies have recently met to discuss election security. At Facebook, employees have discussed contingency plans and postelection scenarios, including attempts by Mr. Trump or his campaign to use the platform to delegitimize the results.
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