- Both Facebook and Twitter put rules in place before the US presidential election restricting content from candidates claiming premature victory.
- In social-media posts, and then in an early-morning speech after Election Day, President Donald Trump falsely claimed he had already won the election before the full results were in.
- Facebook and Twitter immediately labelled Trump’s posts – but they did so in different ways, and the social-media giants reacted differently to other claims from Trump.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
During remarks at the White House early Wednesday morning,Trump did exactly that.
“We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election,” Trump said during remarks at the White House.
The full results for the US election were still not in even hours after Trump’s remarks.
Even before Trump made his speech, he had already signalled on both Facebook and Twitter that he’d claim victory.
Here is how the companies have reacted to the president’s claims:
Twitter flagged a tweet from Trump sent late Tuesday night as “misleading.”
Twitter had labelled the tweet within six minutes of it going up, according to the Telegraph journalist James Titcomb.
Twitter said the tweet had violated its Civic Integrity Policy.
The label meant users had to click through a warning to view Trump’s tweet, and Twitter also restricted the spread of it by stopping users from retweeting it.
Twitter has placed similar restrictions on multiple Trump tweets railing against mail-in voting in the run-up to the election.
Facebook placed warning labels on two posts from Trump.
At almost exactly the same moment as he tweeted, Trump put up two posts on Facebook.
The first post was exactly the same as Trump’s labelled tweet, while the second said: “I will be making a statement tonight. A big WIN!”
Facebook placed identical information labels next to both posts, reminding users that votes were still being counted and linking them to its Voting Information Centre.
A Facebook spokesman could not confirm to Business Insider exactly how quickly the labels were applied but said they were put up “shortly” after the posts were published.
Trump also tweeted this second “big WIN” post, but Twitter took no action against it. A Twitter representative told James Titcomb: “As of now we have not placed a warning on this Tweet as the language is vague and unclear about what victory is being claimed.”
At 2:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Trump gave his White House speech claiming he had won.
As well as saying he won the election, Trump repeated his claims that the election was fraudulent. “This is a major fraud on our nation,” Trump said, offering no evidence.
Facebook placed the same information label on the livestream of Trump’s premature victory declaration.
Facebook also started running messages at the top of users’ feeds to offset Trump’s claims.
“Once President Trump began making premature claims of victory, we started running top-of-feed notifications on Facebook and Instagram so that everyone knows votes are still being counted and the winner has not been projected,” Facebook said in a widely shared statement.
Once President Trump began making premature claims of victory, we started running notifications on Facebook and Instagram that votes are still being counted and a winner is not projected. We're also automatically applying labels to both candidates’ posts with this information. pic.twitter.com/tuGGLJkwcy
— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) November 4, 2020
Simultaneously, Facebook said it was allowing premature victory to be declared in the case of specific states.
A Facebook representative told The Wall Street Journal the company’s policy on flagging premature victory claims applied only to the overall election result, not individual states.
This clarification came after Gov. Ron DeSantis declared victory for Trump in Florida before all the votes had been counted, per The Journal.
DeSantis and the Trump campaign both posted the same claim on Twitter, but Twitter decided to take action and label the tweets,The Washington Post reported.
According to The Post, the Trump campaign also claimed early victory in South Carolina, which Twitter also flagged.
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