Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Twitter and Facebook Wrestle With Handling the U.S. President’s Encouragement of Voter Fraud

Molly Blackall, the Guardian:

Good morning. Donald Trump suggested on Wednesday that people in North Carolina should vote twice in the November election, casting ballots both in person and by mail, despite this being a crime. When asked about the security of mail-in votes in an interview with WECT-TV, Trump said: “Let them send it in and let them go vote. And if the system is as good as they say it is then obviously they won’t be able to vote” in person.

Taylor Hatmaker, TechCrunch:

President Trump’s recent suggestion that North Carolina voters should cast multiple ballots has run afoul of Twitter’s election integrity rules. In a series of tweets Thursday morning, the president elaborated on previous statements in which he encouraged Americans to vote twice to “check” vote-by-mail systems.


Twitter added a “public interest notice” to two tweets related to those comments Thursday, citing its rules around civic and election integrity. The tweets violated the rules “specifically for encouraging people to engage in a behavior that could undermine the integrity of their individual vote,” according to Twitter spokesperson Nick Pacilio. Twitter has limited the reach of those tweets and restricted its likes, replies and retweets without comment.


Facebook added its own fact-checking notice to the same statement that Twitter deemed in violation of that platform’s rules. Now, a label at the bottom of Trump’s Facebook post contradicts the president’s suggestion that Americans try to vote twice to make sure “the mail in system worked properly.”

Charlie Warzel, New York Times:

Reading Mr. Zuckerberg’s election security blog post reminded me of a line from a seminal 2017 article by the journalist Max Read. Three years ago, Mr. Read was struck by a similar pledge from Mr. Zuckerberg to “ensure the integrity” of the German elections. The commitment was admirable, he wrote, but also a tacit admission of Facebook’s immense power. “It’s a declaration that Facebook is assuming a level of power at once of the state and beyond it, as a sovereign, self-regulating, suprastate entity within which states themselves operate.”


But what does it say that one of those institutions charged with protecting democracy is, itself, structured more like a dictatorship?

One of the unique traits of this era of history that I am not entirely thrilled about is that the prospect of entrusting the electoral integrity of a superpower, in part, to the corporate guidance of a thirty-six-year-old guy keeping in check the deranged mouth farts of an ascended reality television host who is desperate to distract from the one thousand Americans dying daily from a pandemic that, while not by any means resolved anywhere, has at least been taken seriously by world leaders who value human life more than, say, their golf game.

No matter how much the leadership at Facebook and Twitter relishes their global influence, I am sure that there is a small part of the minds of Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey that wishes things were simpler — that they could rewind to ten years ago, when the biggest Facebook controversy was how much work time was being wasted playing Farmville. That would be easier than figuring out how to handle the conspiracy theories of the U.S. president. I hope that both companies have plans in place for various election day situations. It seems pretty likely that, regardless of the result, this president will not be clear, direct, or honest. Why would he start now?