A clash of the social network titans is taking shape after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called out Twitter for adding a fact-check to a tweet from President Trump. On Tuesday, Twitter added a fact-check label to Mr. Trump’s tweet about mail-in voting, along with a link directing users to information debunking the president’s false claims about mail-in voting fraud.
In an interview with Fox News’ Dana Perino, Zuckerberg differed with Twitter’s approach, saying “I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” and neither should other private companies.
Zuckerberg’s reaction to the situation comes after President Trump threatened to “strongly regulate” or even shut down social media companies. “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,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning.
A senior administration official tells CBS News the White House is preparing an executive order intended to curtail legal protections that protect social media companies from liability for content like comments, posts and videos that get posted on their sites.
In the Fox News interview, which is set to air in full on Thursday, Zuckerberg said he’d have to understand these proposed regulations, “but in general, I think a government choosing to to censor a platform because they’re worried about censorship doesn’t exactly strike me as the the right reflex there.”
Mr. Trump also responded to Twitter’s fact-check on the platform itself, tweeting that Twitter “is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election.” He doubled down on his unsubstantiated claims about voting by mail and added, “Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!”
Twitter said in a statement to CBS News that fact-check label was added to two of the president’s tweets that “contain potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots.” It said the label was in line with a new approach the company announced this month to begin labeling tweets with disputed or misleading information.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has been vocal in defense of Twitter’s fact-check of the tweet. “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 tweeted Wednesday.
“This does not make us an ‘arbiter of truth,'” Dorsey continued in another tweet. “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.”
In the Twitter thread, he offered a more detailed explanation of why the company felt the fact-check of President Trump’s tweets on mail-in voting were warranted. “Per our Civic Integrity policy (https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/election-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). We’re updating the link on @realDonaldTrump‘s tweet to make this more clear,” Dorsey wrote.
After Fox News aired clips of Zuckerberg weighing in on Twitter’s actions, #DeleteFacebook started to trend on Twitter Thursday morning.
As President Trump continues to ramp up his attacks on tech giants and pushes long-running grievances about social media policies, the details of his planned response remain unclear. An executive order, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, would be certain to face legal challenges.
Mr. Trump hinted at the action in a tweet Thursday morning, writing that this “will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!”