In May, Donald Trump tweeted some awful/dumb/awfully dumb shit that was pretty clearly an active threat of violence against Black Lives Matter protestors along with an insistence that mail-in ballots are “substantially fraudulent. Twitter, finally recognizing the damage that can be done by giving someone like Trump an open platform where they can say whatever they want with absolutely no checks or repercussions, decided to institute some checks by putting warning labels on Trump’s tweets with links to information about how mail-in ballots work and how there’s no evidence that they’re linked to widespread fraud. Twitter went out of its way to word the labels in a neutral, non-judgmental way, so obviously Trump interpreted them as a direct attack on his “free speech,” his dumb hair, and his small hands, and he freaked out about it.
Other than an executive order about stopping social media companies from censoring people (eyeroll emoji), Trump’s freakout didn’t amount to much of anything. It certainly didn’t convince him to be more responsible on social media, at least, because now he’s in trouble with Twitter again—and the company actually did slightly more than put a small note on his tweets this time. The tweet in question was a rambling thing about the Democrats created some insidious new device called “mail drop boxes” that are a “voter security disaster” because they allow people to vote multiple times, they’re placed in areas controlled by Democrats, and they’re basically just buckets full of COVID. He then says “A big fraud,” referring to… who the fuck knows.
Now, it turns out that these “mail drop boxes” were actually a thing before this election season and they are not buckets full of COVID, making Trump’s tweet a violation of Twitter’s “Civic Integrity Policy” because of the way it uses “misleading health claims” to “dissuade people from participation in voting.” The tweet has now been buried under a disclaimer, meaning you can’t see it unless you click through a note about how the tweet violated Twitter rules. The tweet can’t be retweeted or liked, though you can quote it (which is stupid), and the only reason it hasn’t been deleted altogether is because Trump is Trump and it’s somehow “in the public’s interest for the tweet to remain accessible.”
It’s unclear how long the tweet was up before Twitter stepped in, but the fact that it’s still easy to find limits the amount of good that can actually be done by limiting its reach. Also, he posted it early this morning, so it’s been out there for a long time. Also, this is meaningless because he says this shit all the time and nothing ever happens, so who cares? Trump hasn’t even flipped out about this latest act of censorship yet, so he can’t be too upset about it (and it’s not like he’s busy doing something more important).