Twitter has begun labeling President Donald Trump's tweets with a "fact check" note, for the first time. According to The Guardian, the move came after Trump had tweeted some inaccurate information about California voter laws earlier in the month. However, the social media service has long-faced criticism for not fact-checking other unproven comments tweeted out by the Commander-in-Chief.
In the newly labeled tweets, posted Tuesday, Trump wrote, "There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed." He went on to allege that California Gov. Gavin Newsom "is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there." Trump continued, "That will be followed up with professionals telling all of these people, many of whom have never even thought of voting before, how, and for whom, to vote." Finally, he boldly stated that the upcoming election will be "rigged," and added, "No way!"
At the bottom of Trump's tweet now sits a notification symbol next to text that reads, "Get the facts about mail-in ballots." That text links to an event page on Twitter with information from fact-checkers about Trump's false claims that mail-in ballots would lead to a "Rigged Election."
Another situation that may have led to the new policy by Twitter is related to MSNBC host and former Republican congressman, Joe Scarborough. Trump made claims about the 2001 death of Lori Klausutis, who was employed by Scarborough during his time in Congress. Trump strongly implied foul play on Scarborough's part, without any official or concrete evidence, which led Klausutis' widower, Timothy Klausutis, to issue an open letter to Twitter, asking the site to "Please delete those tweets" because his "wife deserves better." According to the local medical examiner, Klausutis' official cause of death was due to a head injury she sustained after suffering a fall that was caused by a previously undiagnosed heart condition.
"The president’s tweet that suggests that Lori was murdered – without any evidence (and contrary to the official autopsy) – is a violation of Twitter’s community rules and terms of service," Timothy wrote in his letter. "An ordinary user like me would be banished from the platform for such a tweet, but I am only asking that these tweets be removed." He later added that "the frequency, intensity, ugliness, and promulgation of these horrifying lies ever increases on the internet." Timothy then blasted "conspiracy theorists" who make false claims about his wife's death, including "the president of the United States," who "continue to spread their bile and misinformation on your platform disparaging the memory of my wife and our marriage." Trump has since responded to the "fact-checking" label, expressing that he is dissatisfied with it.