Zuckerberg Criticizes Twitter for Adding Warning Labels to Trump’s Posts

Zuckerberg Criticizes Twitter for Adding Warning Labels to Trump’s Posts
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Paris on May 23, 2018. (Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images)
Isabel van Brugen

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday criticized Twitter’s decision to apply a warning label on one of President Donald Trump’s posts on the social media platform.

Zuckerberg told Fox News’s “The Daily Briefing” that privately-owned digital platforms should not act as the “arbiter of truth,” after Twitter added fact-checking labels on the president’s posts for the first time on Tuesday.

“We have a different policy than, I think, Twitter on this,” Zuckerberg said in the interview with the news outlet which is scheduled to be aired in full on Thursday.

“I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” he added. “Private companies probably shouldn’t be, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”

His comments come after the president accused Twitter of election interference and of having a “clear political bias.” The platform added the labels to the president’s tweets which expressed concern about mail-in-ballots.

“Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election,” Trump wrote late Tuesday on Twitter. “They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post.”

He added, “Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!”

Trump said in a Twitter post on Tuesday morning that the use of mail-in ballots, if widespread, would lead to fraud and a “rigged election.”

“There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed.”

“The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one,” Trump wrote.

“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,” the president speculated. “This will be a Rigged Election. No way!”

Twitter later added warning labels to Trump’s post reading, “Get the facts about mail-in ballots.” The linked labels lead to a Twitter article with a headline that reads, “Trump makes unsubstantiated claim that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud.”

The president’s spokeswoman, Kayleigh McEnany, said that Trump is set to sign an executive order on Thursday “pertaining to social media” in response to Twitter’s actions.

Responding to Zuckerberg’s comments late Wednesday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said on Twitter that the social media platform will “continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally.”

“And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make,” he said.

“This does not make us an ‘arbiter of truth,’” Dorsey added. “Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves. More transparency from us is critical so folks can clearly see the why behind our actions.”

A day prior, Twitter said in a statement that Trump’s posts about mail-in voting “contain potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context.” Twitter noted that the post does not violate Twitter’s rules because “it does not directly try to dissuade people from voting.”

Twitter also pointed to a new policy that said that it “may use these labels and warning messages to provide additional explanations or clarifications in situations where the risks of harm associated with a tweet are less severe but where people may still be confused or misled by the content.”
Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.