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Trump threatens to shut social media companies after Twitter fact check

Although there is no evidence that the US president has the ability to do so.
The Twitter profile of US President Donald Trump. Image: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

President Donald Trump threatened to regulate or shutter social media companies — a warning apparently aimed at Twitter after it began fact-checking his tweets.

In a pair of tweets issued Wednesday morning from his iPhone, Trump said that social media sites are trying to silence conservative voices, and need to change course or face action.

There is no evidence that Trump has the ability to shut down social media networks, which are run by publicly traded companies and used by billions of people all over the world.

“Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen,” he said. In a second tweet, he added: “Just like we can’t let large scale Mail-In Ballots take root in our Country.”

He didn’t cite any platforms by name, but it was plainly a response after Twitter added a fact-check label to earlier Trump tweets that made unsubstantiated claims about mail-in voting. It’s the first time Twitter has taken action on Trump’s posts for being misleading.

That move came after a widower asked Twitter to delete Trump’s tweets alleging, without evidence, a conspiracy theory that his late wife had been killed by cable news host and former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough. Twitter hasn’t taken action on those tweets.

Twitter shares fell 1.65% in early trading in New York after Trump’s tweet.

© 2020 Bloomberg

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