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Trump threat to shut down social media companies

  • Published at 10:14 pm May 27th, 2020
WEB_Trump
File photo: US President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus response during a meeting with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US, April 30, 2020 Reuters

Twitter's fact-check label prompts Trump threat to shut down social media companies

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to regulate or shut down social media companies for stifling conservative voices, a day after Twitter attached a warning to some of his tweets prompting readers to fact check the president’s claims

Without offering evidence, Trump again accused such platforms of bias, tweeting: “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.”

The president, a heavy user of Twitter with more than 80 million followers, added: “Clean up your act, NOW!!!!”

Trump’s threat to shut down platforms like Twitter Inc and Facebook was his strongest yet within a broader conservative backlash against Big Tech.

Shares of both companies fell.

Twitter for the first time added fact-check labels on Trump tweets after he made unsubstantiated claims on Tuesday about mail-in voting. It attached a blue exclamation mark alert to his tweets to warn his claims were false and had been debunked by factcheckers.

In a pair of early morning posts on Wednesday, the Republican president again blasted mail-in ballots. In a third tweet he threatened “big action” against Twitter.

A Twitter spokeswoman declined comment on Trump’s tweets. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In recent years Twitter has been tightening its policies amid criticism that its hands-off approach had allowed abuse, fake accounts and misinformation to thrive.

Tech companies have been accused of anti-competitive practices and violating user privacy. Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon are facing antitrust probes by the US Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission, state attorneys general and a US congressional panel.

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