May 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

"Close them down": Trump threatens action against social media platforms

President Trump speaking at a podium in the Rose Garden
Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump threatened to shut down or regulate social media platforms due to anti-conservative bias in a pair of Wednesday tweets — the day after Twitter's first fact-check against the president's claims on its platform.

Reality check: While his claim that social media companies target conservatives isn't new, an Axios analysis last year found that stories about the 2020 presidential election that drove the most engagement online often came from right-wing media outlets.

  • "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. ... Clean up your act, NOW!!!!" Trump tweeted.
  • Trump's tweet, sent to his more than 80 million followers, gained almost 20,000 likes in the first 30 minutes after its posting at 7:11 a.m. ET.
  • It's not the first time Trump has pushed this idea as he alleged last year that Twitter was involved in unexplained "illegal activity."

The big picture: Twitter's fact-check on Trump's unsubstantiated claim that mail-in ballots could drive voter fraud came after it — and other platforms — have faced criticism for not doing enough to combat misinformation, especially from him.

  • Trump used this latest string of tweets to repeat a similar claim: "[W]e can’t let large scale Mail-In Ballots take root in our Country. It would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots. Whoever cheated the most would win."

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