Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S. and was brought to Wuhan by the U.S. military, directing users to "get the facts about COVID-19."

Why it matters: The labels were added after criticism that Twitter had fact-checked tweets from President Trump about mail-in voting, but not other false claims from Chinese Communist Party officials and other U.S. adversaries.

  • The New York Post reports it pressed Twitter to annotate Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao's tweets from March, arguing the fact-check warnings against Trump and no one else are a double standard.
  • After initially saying it would not take action at "this time," a Twitter spokesperson told the Post that “after further review, we’ve added labels to these two tweets.”
  • “The tweets in question contain potentially misleading and harmful content about COVID-19 and have been labeled to provide additional context to the public. This enforcement decision is in line with the approach we shared earlier this month.”

The big picture: Twitter has now added fact-check labels to hundreds of tweets amid backlash over its action toward Trump, the New York Times reports. Trump, who has accused Twitter of election interference, has said he will sign an executive order on Thursday involving social media platforms.

Go deeper: Mark Zuckerberg says social networks should not be "the arbiter of truth"

Go deeper

Updated Sep 4, 2020 - Technology

Zuckerberg warns of post-election violence

Mark Zuckerberg tells "Axios on HBO" that Facebook is imposing new election rules to deter use of the platform to spread of misinformation and even violence, and to help voters see the results as "legitimate and fair."

Driving the news: The new measures, announced Thursday, include throwing a flag on posts by candidates who claim premature victory, and forbidding new ads within a week of Election Day.

Sep 3, 2020 - Technology

Facebook will ban new political ads a week before Election Day

Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Facebook said Thursday that it will no longer accept new political ads for the week leading up to Election Day. It will also label posts from candidates who claim victory prematurely and will direct users to the official results.

Why it matters: It's the most aggressive effort Facebook has made to date to curb manipulation in the days leading up to the U.S. election.

The TikTok deal's for-show provisions and flimsy foundations

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The new deal to rescue TikTok from a threatened U.S. ban — full of provisions aimed at creating the temporary appearance of a presidential win — looks like a sort of Potemkin village agreement.

How it works: Potemkin villages were fake-storefront towns stood up to impress a visiting czar and dignitaries. When the visitors left, the stage set got struck.

  • Similarly, many elements of this plan look hastily erected and easily abandoned once the spotlight moves on.