Internewscast
Image default
News

Twitter ‘fact checks’ two-month-old tweets by China as Trump threatens web giants with bias probes

Twitter has ‘fact-checked’ two tweets by China after it caused a political storm in the US by flagging two of Donald Trump’s tweets for accuracy – sparking fury from the president and accusations of bias.

The social media giant added exclamation point warnings to tweets by China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman accusing the US of starting the coronavirus pandemic.

The timing of the fact checks coincided with the political fall-out in America from Twitter’s decision to add accuracy warnings on two of President Trump’s tweets claiming mail-in election ballots were substantially fraudulent.

The decision to single out two of the president’s tweets for ‘fact checking’ led to furious accusations of anti-conservative bias in the US.

Trump is now threatening to sign an executive order today which could expose Google, Facebook and Twitter to government investigations into allegations of bias and more lawsuits

But amid the row, Twitter singled out tweets by China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao accusing the US Army of starting the coronavirus pandemic. He said: ‘It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.’ 

The tweet from China's Foreign Ministry spokesman calls on the US to 'Be transparent!' and suggests it might have been the US army who brought coronavirus to Wuhan

The tweet from China's Foreign Ministry spokesman calls on the US to 'Be transparent!' and suggests it might have been the US army who brought coronavirus to Wuhan

The tweet from China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman calls on the US to ‘Be transparent!’ and suggests it might have been the US army who brought coronavirus to Wuhan

The warnings have been added to tweets that are more than two months old and it comes just hours after Twitter added warnings to tweets by Trump which claimed mail-in ballots were substantially fraudulent

The warnings have been added to tweets that are more than two months old and it comes just hours after Twitter added warnings to tweets by Trump which claimed mail-in ballots were substantially fraudulent

The warnings have been added to tweets that are more than two months old and it comes just hours after Twitter added warnings to tweets by Trump which claimed mail-in ballots were substantially fraudulent

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian speaks during a daily media briefing in Beijing, China, earlier this month

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian speaks during a daily media briefing in Beijing, China, earlier this month

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian speaks during a daily media briefing in Beijing, China, earlier this month

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump return to the White House on Thursday as he went to war on Twitter

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump return to the White House on Thursday as he went to war on Twitter

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump return to the White House on Thursday as he went to war on Twitter

The tweets are now marked ‘Get the facts about COVID-19’ and a link redirects users to a page which describes how the WHO had found in April that there was no evidence COVID-19 originated in a lab, instead they said it had come from animals in late last year. 

On March 12, the deputy director of the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman tweeted a link to a spurious article from Global Research – well known for its conspiracy theories and spouting of Russian propaganda.

Zhao said: ‘This article is very much important to each and every one of us. Please read and retweet it. COVID-19: Further Evidence that the Virus Originated in the US.’ 

According to The New York Post, Twitter only marked up the Chinese spokesman’s tweets after their reporters pressured the tech giant over its ‘double standards’ compared to Trump.

A Twitter spokesman would neither confirm nor deny the Post’s claim, but said Zhao’s tweets ‘contain potentially misleading content about Covid-19’ and they had added the warnings to ‘provide additional context.’

Twitter – which has previously suspended users and deleted tweets – has now added a nuance to its vetting of tweets which could present it with further complications.

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey yesterday lashed out Trump and asked critics to ‘leave our employees out of this.’

It comes after it was unearthed that in tweets from 2017, Twitter’s head of site integrity (fact-checking) Yoel Roth had said the Trump administration was run by ‘Nazis’ and likened White House aide Kellyanne Conway to ‘Joseph Goebbels.’

Donald Trump warned Wednesday morning that his administration will begin regulating and shutting down social media sites, claiming tech giants try to 'totally silence conservative voices'

Donald Trump warned Wednesday morning that his administration will begin regulating and shutting down social media sites, claiming tech giants try to 'totally silence conservative voices'

Donald Trump warned Wednesday morning that his administration will begin regulating and shutting down social media sites, claiming tech giants try to ‘totally silence conservative voices’

The claim came after Twitter, one of his favorite mediums for communicating with the American people, labeled two of his tweets about mail-in ballots as 'misleading'

The claim came after Twitter, one of his favorite mediums for communicating with the American people, labeled two of his tweets about mail-in ballots as 'misleading'

The claim came after Twitter, one of his favorite mediums for communicating with the American people, labeled two of his tweets about mail-in ballots as ‘misleading’

Dorsey tweeted: ‘Fact check: there is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that’s me. Please leave our employees out of this. We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make,’ he wrote. 

Biased head of Twitter’s ‘Site Integrity’ has previously called the President ‘a racist tangerine’

Yoel Roth, whose official title at Twitter is head of Site Integrity, faced backlash on Wednesday after his history of anti-Trump tweets emerged less than 24 hours after the social media giant put a fact-checking warning on two of the president’s tweets. 

Yoel Roth, whose official title at Twitter is head of Site Integrity

Yoel Roth, whose official title at Twitter is head of Site Integrity

Yoel Roth, whose official title at Twitter is head of Site Integrity 

In a January 2017 tweet, Roth referred to the Trump administration as ‘actual Nazis in the White House’ and tweeted in November 2016 that fly over states were racist.

He also compared Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway to Nazi Joseph Goebbels saying: ”Today on Meet The Press, we’re speaking with Joseph Goebbels about the first 100 days…’ – What I hear whenever Kellyanne is on a news show.’

The majority of Roth’s tweets criticizing Trump and his administration were posted around 2017.

Roth started working at Twitter in 2015 as a product trust partner, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He has been in his current role as head of site integrity for almost two years.

Conway, who is a counselor to Trump, lashed out at Roth in an interview with Fox & Friends on Wednesday and went as far as giving out his Twitter handle on live television.

‘This guy is constantly attacking Trump voters, Trump, Mitch McConnell, you name it. He’s the head of integrity at Twitter,’ Conway said.

‘It’s horrible the way he looks at people who should otherwise have a free and clear platform on Twitter.’  

Advertisement

‘Per our Civic Integrity policy, the tweets yesterday may mislead people into thinking they don’t need to register to get a ballot (only registered voters receive ballots),’ he added. ‘We’re updating the link on @RealDonaldTrump’s tweet to make this more clear.’

Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg has sought to distance his own social media firm from Dorsey’s and criticized his rival for fact-checking Trump’s tweets.

In an interview with Fox, Zuckerberg said that it was not the place of the company to act as an ‘arbiter of truth’.

‘We have a different policy than, I think, Twitter on this,’ he said.

‘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.’  

Trump is expected to sign an executive order later today which will set up a mechanism allowing Americans to report alleged political censorship or bias by the social media giants which will be investigated by the Federal Trade Commission.

Trump tweeted earlier: ‘This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!’ 

The draft order states it will require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to propose and clarify regulations under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a federal law largely exempting online platforms from legal liability for users’ posts.

It also requires the agency to look at whether a social media platform uses deceptive policies to moderate content and if its policies are inconsistent with its terms of service. 

The White House tech bias reporting tool will collect complaints of online censorship and submit them to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).   

The FTC will then be required to ‘consider taking action’, examine whether complaints violate the law, draw up a report describing such complaints and make the report publicly available.

The White House launched a similar tool last year but it is now closed. It is unclear what happened to the responses people sent it. 

The draft order also requires the attorney general to establish a working group including state attorneys general that will examine the enforcement of state laws that prohibit online platforms from engaging in unfair and deceptive acts. 

 

 

Section 230 of the 1996 law is a shield against social media networks being sued for what people post on their platforms.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg goes after Twitter for its fact-checking of Trump 

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg criticized competitor Twitter on Thursday after it ‘fact-checked’ tweets from Donald Trump.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey immediately fired back saying that the site would continue to call out ‘incorrect or disputed information’ about elections shared by users. 

In his interview with Fox, Facebook’s Zuckerberg said that it was not the place of the company to act as an ‘arbiter of truth’.

‘We have a different policy than, I think, Twitter on this,’ he said.

‘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.’

Dorsey tweeted: ‘Fact check: there is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that’s me. Please leave our employees out of this. We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make,’ he wrote. 

‘Per our Civic Integrity policy, the tweets yesterday may mislead people into thinking they don’t need to register to get a ballot (only registered voters receive ballots),’ he added. ‘We’re updating the link on @RealDonaldTrump’s tweet to make this more clear.’

It says: ‘No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.’ 

It also says that: ‘No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.’ 

A publisher or speaker can normally be sued for defamation for the contents of their speech but by not being categorized as those, any attempt to sue social media giants for what is written on them falls at the first hurdle.

The 1996 statute has allowed Silicon Valley to make billions of dollars from their users’ posts, photos and videos, with minimal legal liability, while giving them freedom to remove anything they see as ‘objectionable.’ 

When it was written social media did not exist.

Since its explosive growth, platforms including Twitter and Facebook have changed repeatedly.

Their algorithms decide the order in which users see new posts, and can be used to make particular content more or less visible.

That has led critics to say that they are behaving as publishers – deciding what people read or see – and not simply as forums.

The rest of the act gives forums powers to set standards for content, which social media platforms have used as a basis for moderating content and to justify the existence of algorithms. 

Conservatives – and many others outside mainstream thought on matters like history, climate change and even the coronavirus – have criticized the use of Section 230 claiming big tech has censored content without being subject to scrutiny.  

Source: dailymail US

Related posts

Leave a Comment