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Dorsey refuses to back down

by on29 May 2020

Will continue to fact check Trump

Twitter will continue to fact check Donald Trump despite the President's censorship threats. 

For those who came in late, Trump was furious when Twitter dared to fact check one of his posts where he falsely claimed that Lori Klausutis was murdered in 2001 by her boss, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.

Trump has been dusting off long debunked conspiracy ideas lately presumably to get people talking about things other than the coronavirus which has killed more than 100,000 Americans.

The husband of Lori Klausutis, the deceased staffer of former Rep. Joe Scarborough called on Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey to delete tweets posted by President Donald Trump that baselessly accuse Scarborough of murdering his dead wife, saying the president has “perverted” the memory of her for political gain. That particular conspiracy has long since been debunked and authorities found no sign of foul play and her death was ruled an accident due to an abnormal heart rhythm.

Dorsey refused to allow the post to be deleted, but instead fact checked it -- which made the President look like he didn't know what he was talking about. Some would have thought that it might have been better to just censor the post, that would have made Trump look like a martyr but not an actually idiot. 

The other post included Trump's false and misleading claims about mail-in voting and voter fraud. Twitter labeled them with a link leading users to accurate reporting about the issue. Again it made Trump look like he was lying or at very least reporting facts which were not there.

Trump responded with an executive order to remove important legal protections from sites like Twitter and Facebook which means they could be sued if they censor or fact check posts. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act means that internet companies have broad immunity from liability for the content their users post on their platforms. The draft order would open the door for the Commerce Department and the Federal Communications Commission to reinterpret the law and allow the Federal Trade Commission to create a tool for users to report bias online.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is refusing to back down over fact-checking in the face of relentless criticism from the White House. In a series of tweets, Dorsey wrote that Twitter will “continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make”.

He added: “This does not make us an ‘arbiter of truth.’ Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves.”

The ‘arbiter of truth’ comment was a dig  at Mark Zuckerberg who appeared to be rolling over to have his tummy tickled by Trump. In an interview with CNBC Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said no private company should act as “the arbiter of truth” and that social media platforms, especially like Facebook and Twitter, “shouldn’t be in the position of doing that”.

However, now it has seen what Trump had in mind it seems that Facebook is also opposing the order.

Liz Bourgeois, a Facebook spokesperson, said: "Facebook is a platform for diverse views. We believe in protecting freedom of expression on our services, while protecting our community from harmful content including content designed to stop voters from exercising their right to vote. Those rules apply to everybody. Repealing or limiting section 230 will have the opposite effect. It will restrict more speech online, not less. By exposing companies to potential liability for everything that billions of people around the world say, this would penalize companies that choose to allow controversial speech and encourage platforms to censor anything that might offend anyone."


Last modified on 29 May 2020
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