President Trump escalated his new feud with Twitter on Wednesday morning by threatening to shut it and other social media sites down over what he sees as political bias. The threat comes after Twitter added a fact-check function to some of the president's tweets. "Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices," Trump tweeted. "We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen. ... Social Media. Clean up your act, NOW!!!!"
- Can he? Despite Trump's threat, he has "little authority" to shut down the sites, notes Bloomberg. Potential regulations are another thing, though adviser Kellyanne Conway declined to suggest specifics on Wednesday. “The president’s saying please stop suppressing conservative voices,” she said. On Twitter's new fact-checking move: “I thought using outlets that are decisively and proudly anti-Trump to fact-check the president was maybe the richest piece of the whole thing.”
- Mail-in voting: On Tuesday, Twitter flagged Trump tweets linking absentee voting to fraud as potentially misleading. (The site added a blue exclamation point to the tweets with a "Get the facts" note linking to stories on the issue, per Reuters.) But Trump returned to the topic Wednesday. "We can’t let large scale Mail-In Ballots take root in our Country," he wrote. "It would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots. Whoever cheated the most would win."
- Another Trump move: Last week, before the Twitter controversy, the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump might create a White House panel to review online bias at social media sites. “Left-wing bias in the tech world is a concern that definitely needs to be addressed from our vantage point, and at least exposed [so] that Americans have clear eyes about what we’re dealing with,” says a White House official.
- Twitter stock: Shares were sliding Wednesday morning, reports the Street. They were down about 2% even as the tech-centric Nasdaq index was rising.
- A counterpoint: Axios did an analysis last year and found that the most viral online stories about the 2020 election actually came from right-wing sites.
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