Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Twitter on Monday opted not to take down or flag a tweet from President Trump that baselessly tied mail-in ballots to voter fraud and foreign election interference. On Tuesday, meanwhile, the platform flagged a Trump tweet threatening "serious force" against protesters seeking to set up an "autonomous zone" in Washington for violating its rules on abusive behavior.

The big picture: President Trump continues to test tech platforms' willingness to crack down on abuse and misinformation he spreads on his social media accounts, a dynamic that will likely intensify as the election approaches and he seeks to raise doubts about potentially unfavorable outcomes.

Driving the news: Trump tweeted on Tuesday, "There will never be an 'Autonomous Zone' in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!"

  • The tweet was flagged and replaced with a notice that gave users the option to view the content because Twitter determined "it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."
  • Users are not permitted to share the tweet.
Screenshot via Twitter

On Monday, Trump railed against mail-in voting in a series of tweets claiming that "millions of mail-in ballots will be printed by foreign countries, and others" and maintaining, "Because of MAIL-IN BALLOTS, 2020 will be the most RIGGED Election in our nations history."

  • It's unclear what inspired Trump's claim about foreign countries printing ballots, and there has never been any link established between mail-in voting and widespread voter fraud (or indeed any record of widespread voter fraud in the U.S. at all).
  • Trump himself has repeatedly voted by mail in the last three years.

Twitter declined to flag the tweets as election-related misinformation, as it had an earlier series of Trump tweets, because Monday's postings didn't level any specific accusations about election officials' processes on handling voting or mail-in ballots, a company spokesperson told Axios.

  • Twitter did create a "Moment" aggregating tweets that debunked Trump's latest claims.

Trump's posts also appeared without being flagged on Facebook, which has taken a broadly more permissive approach than Twitter to Trump's inflammatory messages.

Our thought bubble: Testing the boundaries of acceptability on social media is a win-win for Trump's grievance politics. Either platforms give him a pass and let him spread misinformation unimpeded, or they crack down on him, fueling his claims that they're trying to silence him and other conservatives.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with Twitter's decision to flag another Trump tweet for abusive behavior.

Go deeper

How "naked ballots" could upend mail-in voting in Pennsylvania

Trump signs in Olyphant, Penn. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ordered state officials last week to throw out mail-in ballots submitted without a required inner "secrecy" envelope in November's election, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The state of play: The decision went under the radar alongside the simultaneous decision to extend the time that mail-in ballots could be counted, but Philadelphia's top elections official warned state legislators this week that throwing out so-called "naked ballots" could bring "electoral chaos" to the state and cause "tens of thousands of votes" to be thrown out — potentially tipping the presidential election.

Judge extends deadline for Wisconsin ballots postmarked by Election Day

A polling location in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Photo: DEREK R. HENKLE/AFP via Getty Images

A federal judge in Wisconsin on Monday extended the state's deadline for counting absentee ballots until up to six days after the Nov. 3 election if they are postmarked by Election Day, AP reports.

Why it matters: The ruling, unless overturned, "means that the outcome of the presidential race in Wisconsin likely will not be known for days after polls close," according to AP.

N.C. election officials agree to accept absentee ballots a week after Election Day

Absentee ballot election workers work on ballot applications at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections office in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo: LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images

The North Carolina State Board of Elections on Tuesday announced it will tentatively count mail-in ballots received by Nov. 12 — up to nine days after the election — so long as they're postmarked on or before Election Day.

Why it matters: If approved by the court, the agreement — which settles a lawsuit brought by a group representing retirees — could see scores of additional votes counted in the crucial battleground state.

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