Twitter issued a fact check of some of Donald Trump’s tweets on Tuesday, marking the first time the U.S. president’s favoured social media platform has pushed back against him spreading falsehoods.
The move, which almost immediately heightened tensions between Trump and the social media giant, came in the form of a label under two of the president’s tweets, which claimed that mail-in voter ballots are subject to extreme fraud.
The label says “Get the facts about mail-in ballots,” and then redirects users to news articles and a bulleted list refuting Trump’s claims.
Shortly after Twitter issued the fact check, the president accused the company of “interfering” in the November presidential election and impinging on free speech.
“Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!” he tweeted while doubling down on voter fraud claims.
It is unclear how Twitter will treat Trump’s future tweets that promote false information.
On Tuesday, Trump issued separate tweets promoting a baseless conspiracy theory about Joe Scarborough, a liberal television news host and former congressman, which were not fact-checked by Twitter.
Nick Pacilio, a Twitter spokesman, would not comment on whether the company will continue to fact-check Trump’s tweets, saying the label is used “based on what people tweet.”
Twitter has faced a growing backlash for giving the president a massive platform to spread false information.
Trump, who has more than 80 million Twitter followers, says his use of social media is essential to bypass what he sees as a biased media establishment.
“Partnering with biased fake news ‘fact checkers’ is a smokescreen to lend Twitter’s obvious political tactics false credibility,” Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement responding to Twitter flagging the president’s tweets.
“There are many reasons we pulled all our advertising from Twitter months ago, and clear political bias is one of them,” Parscale added.
The president has increasingly claimed that mail-in ballots are subject to high rates of fraud at the time when some states are increasing access to postal voting to protect public health ahead of the November presidential elections.
Election law experts say there is little evidence of increased fraud in mail-in ballots, as general voter fraud remains extremely low.
Republicans have long pushed to tighten the process for voter registration as Democrats have sought to expand voter accessibility.
Some studies show increased voter turnout is a boon for Democratic candidates.
In June of last year, Twitter said that it would mark tweets deemed to be in the public interest that violate its policies on such things as abusive behaviour and public safety.
JUST IN: Oyo deputy governor denied access to Ajimobi’s 8th day fidau
There was a mild drama on Sunday at the Oluyole, Ibadan residence of the former governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, when the state deputy governor Rauf Olaniyan was denied access to the eighth-day fidau prayers holding in the compound.
The family had announced the fidau prayer as a private programme, urging the public to watch through virtual channels including Zoom, YouTube and Facebook.
Olaniyan arrived the residence at about 11:20 am in a convoy of five vehicles. On getting to the gate of the road leading to Ajimobi’s residence, the convoy was stopped by policemen and members of other security agencies manning the gate. They insisted that only the deputy governor’s vehicle could be allowed into the street to join the prayer.
The deputy governor’s security details initially rebuffed the idea but when their argument was degenerating, a senior policeman intervened and they eventually agreed that only the deputy governor’s vehicle should go in.
But on getting to Ajimobi’s house, the gate was also locked.
The deputy governor’s aides introduced their principal but they were told that the gate had been locked and that Mrs Ajimobi was in possession of the key. Olaniyan waited, believing that the issue would be sorted in no time.
After waiting for about 15 minutes, however, without any positive development, Olaniyan left the residence.
Prayers were still ongoing as at press time.
Rivers APC: Aguma remains state chair, says Abe
Former Senator representing Rivers South-East senatorial district in the national assembly, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, has described the alleged suspension of the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Igochukwu Aguma, by a section of the statutory members of the party’s State Executive Committee (SEC), as inconsequential and a clear breach of a valid court judgement.
He said even if the judgement of the High Court that empowered Aguma to act as the APC Caretaker Chairman in the state is set aside, the action of the SEC members was already in defiance of a subsisting court judgement, considering the time they took the action.
Abe, in a statement posted on his Facebook account, said, Senator Andrew Uchendu, who presided over the meeting where Aguma was allegedly suspended, should have collected the signatures of SEC members and served a notice on Hon. Aguma the chairman with a demand to summon a meeting.
The Senator said:
“There are constitutional provisions in our party constitution to summon an extraordinary meeting of the state executive committee of our party the APC. Hon. Igo Aguma called a meeting of the SEC by virtue of an order of a court which was published.
Every member was invited. I attended that meeting, a quorum was formed and decisions were reached. So SEC met and took certain decisions including asking the acting Chairman to draw a blueprint on the way forward and present to SEC at a later date.
“As far as the law is concerned, the state executive committee of the APC can only meet if summoned by the chairman or a proper procedure is used by members to override the chairman.
We should follow the example of the President and obey our courts. Igo Aguma remains the Chairman of APC in the state.
Leaders should be careful not to lead the party on another merry go round,” Abe maintained. The statement was signed by his spokesperson, Parry Saroh Benson.
Ghana’s president goes into isolation after testing Negative to COVID-19
Despite testing negative for coronavirus, Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo has gone into self-isolation for two weeks as a precautionary measure.
This became necessary after one of his contacts was confirmed to have the illness.
President Nana Akufo-Addo began his quarantine on Saturday and will be working from the presidential villa in Accra, capital of the West African country, the information minister said in a statement.
“The president has elected to do so after at least one person within his close circle tested positive for COVID-19,” the minister said.
“(The president) has, as (of) today, tested negative, but has elected to take this measure out of the abundance of caution.”
Ghana has reported more than 19,300 cases of the new respiratory disease and 117 deaths and has lifted its strict lockdown although social-distancing measures remain in place.
The announcement came a day after the presidency said a junior minister had resigned for failing to self-isolate after testing positive.
There was no official indication the events were linked.
Since the pandemic erupted, a number of senior political figures worldwide have caught the disease, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was hospitalised and has now recovered.
Senegal’s President Macky Sall also went into a preventative quarantine last month, despite testing negative, after coming into contact with a coronavirus case
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