Can Twitter Censor Trump If The President Is Barred From Blocking Other Users?
A panel of federal judges ruled last year that President Donald Trump cannot block users on Twitter.
In blocking those who criticized or mocked him, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled Trump violated the First Amendment and cannot prevent users from viewing his posts which he uses to conduct government business.
On Tuesday, Twitter began fact-checking President Donald Trump’s tweets with a warning label tacked onto a pair of posts regarding mail-in voting.
“There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent,” Trump wrote. “Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed.”
“Get the facts about mail-in ballots,” Twitter stuck to the posts.
Out of everything the president has published on the platform, it was a bizarre post to “fact-check” considering the merits of the claims.
Hey Twitter, fact-check this…a member of my staff received THREE mail-in ballots, addressed to three different individuals, to the same address! And they say your claims of ballot-fraud are “unsubstantiated” @realDonaldTrump. pic.twitter.com/JmKQ2H0ykk
— Rep. Barry Loudermilk (@RepLoudermilk) May 28, 2020
In 2012, the New York Times headlined a piece, “Error and Fraud at Issue as Absentee Voting Rises.”
“There is a bipartisan consensus that voting by mail, whatever its impact, is more easily abused than other forms,” the Times wrote. “Votes cast by mail are less likely to be counted, more likely to be compromised and more likely to be contested than those cast in a voting booth, statistic show. Election officials reject almost 2 percent of ballots cast by mail, double the rate for in-person voting.”
A 2005 commission chaired by former Democratic President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker III also found that “absentee ballots remain the largest source of voter fraud” and is “vulnerable to abuse in several ways.” Ballots can be sent to wrong addresses and “voting schemes are far more difficult to detect.”
Marc Thiessen points out in the Washington Post that there is a major difference between mailing ballots to a small fraction of the electorate that requests one rather than to every registered voter in the country, as Democrats have proposed.
“Under the Democrats’ plan, ballots would inevitably be sent to wrong addresses or inactive voters, putting millions of blank ballots into circulation – an invitation for fraud,” Thiessen wrote, as nearly half the states either don’t have mail-in voting systems available already or limited options just five months away from the November election.
Twitter’s ill-guided fact-check stoked controversy surrounding the platform’s role masquerading as an arbiter of truth in the era of fake news. The episode was followed swiftly by a White House executive order on Thursday seeking to strip social media companies of broad liability protections granted under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Following Trump’s order cracking down on big tech, Twitter censored the president again late Thursday night tagging another tweet where the Trump condemns the explosive rioting tearing down a major American city in the middle of a pandemic as “glorifying violence.”
Meanwhile, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has continue to promote the jiahd freely on the site.
— Ajit Pai (@AjitPaiFCC) May 29, 2020
Trump therefore, under current circumstances can’t block other users from viewing his posts on a platform that censors his own content. Is that legal?