SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/CNN) — President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Wednesday, threatening to shut down social media after the San Francisco-based company fact-check to two of his posts this week.
Amid several posts early Wednesday, Trump tweeted: “Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen. We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016. We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that…happen again. Just like we can’t let large scale Mail-In Ballots take root in our Country. It would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots. Whoever cheated the most would win. Likewise, Social Media. Clean up your act, NOW!!!!”
Trump did not elaborate on what actions he could take, but it raises the stakes for Twitter and Facebook as they grapple with allegedly misleading claims about mail-in voting and insinuations that a cable TV news host had a hand in an aide’s death decades ago.
Facebook and Twitter didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
Trump’s Twitter outburst followed an unprecedented decision by the platform on Tuesday evening to apply a fact-checking label to Trump’s content for the first time.
The label, which Twitter has designed to combat misinformation and unverified claims, linked to a curated page with links and summaries of articles describing how Trump’s claims on mail-in ballots are unfounded.
Shortly after the labels were applied, Trump took to Twitter to claim the company “is interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election” and “stifling FREE SPEECH.” He added that he “will not allow it to happen!”
But Twitter’s fact-checking decision raised further questions about whether it would apply the same treatment to Trump’s misleading claims about Lori Klausutis, the aide to former Rep. Joe Scarborough, a prominent critic of Trump.
In recent days, Trump has leveled unsubstantiated allegations at Scarborough suggesting he was responsible for Klausutis’s death. The claims have been undermined by the official autopsy, which found Klausutis had an undiagnosed heart condition.
Klausutis’s husband, Timothy Klausutis, reiterated that in a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey last week, saying that Trump’s claims denigrated the memory of his wife for perceived political gain.
Twitter has told CNN Business that it will not be removing the tweets about Scarborough.
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