The White House raised questions about Twitter’s fact-checking policy. Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany pointed to a double standard on how the company flagged posts from President Trump quickly but delayed doing so for Chinese officials.
Additionally, McEnany on Thursday called out Facebook and Twitter for running ads from Chinese state media promoting disinformation. The ads reportedly downplay the communist party’s human rights abuses toward more than 1 million Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region.
Twitter recently flagged one of president Trump’s posts on possible mail-in ballot fraud as misleading—labeled within just 24 hours of being posted. Yet it took over two months to flag one from a regime spokesperson accusing the US army of bringing the virus to Wuhan.
“And then back in march a Chinese official began spreading a conspiracy theory on Twitter, an egregious one, that our US military was responsible for the spread of the coronavirus, and that Tweet, that disinformation—it took all the way until today when we raised concerns about it to get a fact-check,” McEnany said.
When asked why Twitter flagged Trump’s post so quickly but took so long to flag the Chinese official, the company responded but did not address the issue.
Twitter’s first response to the inquiry was that two posts (here and here) from the Chinese spokesperson Lijian Zhao “contain potentially misleading content” about COVID-19 and have been labeled to provide additional context to the public.
The response did not mention Trump at all. When asked a second time to clarify why the company flagged Trump’s post within 24 hours but took over two months to flag the Chinese official the company responded: “Nothing further to share on this.”
Patrick Basham, the founding director of the Democracy Institute, calls Twitter’s actions political bias.
“It says that Twitter is far more concerned about criticizing and damaging President Trump’s political fortunes than it is about ensuring that Americans get the best and most accurate information about the Coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic,” Basham told NTD in an interview.
He says we need to know who is doing the fact-checking, what their political history is, and if they have received any political donations.
“Until Twitter is transparent about who and why they’re fact checking, then it is simply going to make a bad situation worse, and more and more people are going to realize that Twitter has apparently its own agenda”
Basham says Twitter has shown a history of fact-checking those on the right side of the political spectrum but isn’t as concerned about the accuracy of those on the left—including the extreme political left of the communist regime in Beijing.
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