Rubio warns Twitter after it puts fact-check label on Trump tweetby Zachary Halaschak
Sen. Marco Rubio fired a warning shot at Twitter after it appended a fact-check label to President Trump’s tweets about mail-in voting.
The Florida Republican said Tuesday that Twitter “should no longer be shielded from liability” and treated as a publisher if it decides to deviate from its place as a social media forum.
“The law still protects social media companies like @Twitter because they are considered forums not publishers,” Rubio said. “But if they have now decided to exercise an editorial role like a publisher then they should no longer be shielded from liability & treated as publishers under the law.”
The tweet comes after a political firestorm erupted Tuesday evening when Twitter affixed a “get the facts” alert under a series of tweets targeting California’s mail-in ballots. Trump fired back and accused the social media giant of interfering in the presidential election.
“@Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election. They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post,” Trump responded. “Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!”
There was pushback to Rubio’s remark and to whether Twitter could be forfeiting its immunity by moderating tweets with fact-checks. Some pointed out Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act says that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
Twitter itself was not directly fact-checking Trump’s tweets but rather linked to a page with tweets and articles discussing the matter in depth from reporters and news organizations. Twitter introduced the fact-checking policies as a way to reduce the spread of misinformation on the site. It also updated its polices to respond to misleading and disputed information during the coronavirus pandemic.
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri has worked to remove the blanket immunity that large technology corporations have under Section 230 and blasted Twitter’s move Tuesday night.
"And @Twitter is getting subsidized by the federal government for that interference in the form of special immunity worth billions. Time to end #BigTech sweetheart deal w/ government,” Hawley said in response to Trump’s tweet, tearing into the social media company for the fact-check.