For the first time, Twitter tagged two of President Donald Trump’s tweets on Tuesday with a fact-checking note indicating that his statements were misleading. Angered over the notes, Trump later accused Twitter of attempting to influence the upcoming 2020 presidential election.
During an interview with Fox News’ Dana Perino, Zuckerberg said he disagreed with Twitter’s policy and said he didn’t believe his own company, Facebook, should be “the arbiter of truth.”
“We have a different policy than Twitter on this,” Zuckerberg told Perino when asked about Twitter’s decision to fact-check Trump.
“I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” he said. “I think in general, private companies probably shouldn’t be — especially these platform companies — shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”
A preview of Zuckerberg’s interview was published Wednesday and is scheduled to air in full on Thursday.
Trump’s tweets warned, without evidence, of “substantially fraudulent” voting in states that plan to use mail-in ballots this November.
Twitter added this note to Trump’s tweets:
“Trump falsely claimed that mail-in ballots would lead to ‘a Rigged Election.’ However, fact-checkers say there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud.”
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded to Zuckerberg’s comments later Wednesday, saying Twitter will “continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make.”
“This does not make us an ‘arbiter of truth,’” Dorsey wrote. “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.”
A Twitter spokesperson told HuffPost that Twitter flagged Trump’s tweets because they contained “potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots.”
The fact-checking is part of the company’s new policy of labeling false or misleading information about COVID-19. The company also explained that it may expand the fact-checking to topics beyond the pandemic.
In response to Twitter’s action, Trump threatened on Wednesday to use the power of the federal government to regulate social media companies. The office of the president cannot regulate tech companies without congressional approval or help with the Federal Communications Commission.
“We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen,” Trump said, accusing social media companies of intentionally suppressing conservative opinions.
“Big action to follow,” he added.
Zuckerberg appeared wary of Trump’s warning and said he didn’t believe further censorship was the appropriate action.
“I have to understand what they actually would intend to do,” Zuckerberg told Fox News. “But in general, I think a government choosing to censor a platform because they’re worried about censorship doesn’t exactly strike me as the right reflex there.”