Twitter and Facebook blocked pages and posts in this US election campaign; remember cases | US Elections 2020


The restrictions applied on Thursday (15) by Twitter and Facebook to publications of links to a report in the “New York Post” are part of a series of actions by the two social media companies in these United States presidential elections.

The text in question dealt with an alleged meeting of then Vice President Joe Biden, the current Democratic candidate for the White House, with a consultant from the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. While Twitter banned users from sharing links to the story, Facebook narrowed the reach of posts with the content of the “New York Post”.

Because of the publication, Twitter even temporarily blocked the official account for the re-election campaign from President Donald Trump, who shared content about Biden and the Ukrainian company.

Facebook headquarters in California – Photo: Thiago Lavado / G1

Just this week, Twitter suspended accounts that allegedly belonged to Trump’s African-American supporters. In its justification, the social network alleged the practice of spam and manipulation of the platform.

It is not the first time in this election year in the US that companies have acted to block posts they deem to be liars or with information they claim has not been confirmed. As the measures mainly affect Republican Donald Trump, the current president once again said that the networks are trying to silence him.

Recall other cases below:

Earlier this month, Facebook announced a ban on all profiles linked to the QAnon conspiracy movement from its platforms, even if they do not include violent content. Youtube followed the recommendation of other networks and also started to ban this content.

QAnon is an American conspiracy movement that fully supports Trump, who they say is the hero of a battle against Satanic groups. The group, however, is considered by the FBI to be a potential threat from internal terrorism.

The company said the change is an update to the policy created in August, when 1,500 pages, groups and profiles about the group that discussed violence were removed.

Former Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone leaves the District Court in Washington after being convicted on Thursday (20) – Photo: Reuters / Mary F. Calvert

Trump’s longtime aide and a personal friend of the president, Roger Stone had 50 personal and professional pages linked to him removed from Facebook.

The social networking platform said Stone and his associates, including a prominent supporter of Florida’s right-wing Proud Boys group, Stone’s home state, used fake accounts and followers to publicize Trump’s ally books and posts.

Stone was recently convicted of lying to the legislature’s intelligence committee about his attempts to contact WikiLeaks, which released emails from Hillary Clinton, Trump’s opponent in 2016.

Wrong information about Covid-19

United States President Donald Trump during a rally at Pitt-Greenville Airport in Greenville, North Carolina, on Thursday (15) – Photo: AP Photo / Evan Vucci

Twitter temporarily blocked the official account of candidate Donald Trump’s reelection campaign in August because of a post with misinformation about Covid-19, a disease caused by the new coronavirus.

In the message published by the @TeamTrump account, the representative stated that children are “almost immune” to Covid-19, which violates the rules against misinformation on the social network, explained a spokesman for the platform.

Facebook also removed, on the same day, a similar publication about the coronavirus and children. It was the first time that the platform took such a step.

“This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune to Covid-19, which is a violation of the policy on disinformation towards Covid,” said Facebook spokesman Andy Stone.

Contrary to what the publications said, Covid-19 can, yes, affect younger people and evolve to more severe conditions of the disease – even if the lethality in children is comparatively lower.

Also in August, Facebook removed a Romanian-based network that brought together accounts that support Trump’s reelection campaign.

Many of the 35 Facebook accounts and 88 Instagram accounts pretended to be American, and some ran Trump support pages, violating social media rules about what he calls coordinated inauthentic behavior.

The network had a small reach, with 1,600 followers on Facebook and 7,200 on Instagram, which is controlled by Facebook

Person puts letter in box of the US Postal Service in Philadelphia, this Friday (14) – Photo: Rachel Wisniewski / Reuters

In May, Twitter marked with a suggestion for readers to check the facts in Trump’s posts about alleged mail ballot fraud – voting allowed in most of the United States and which the current president has been casting doubts.

According to a Twitter spokesman, the tags in Tuesday’s two posts were included because the tweets “contain potentially misleading information about the voting processes, and have been labeled to provide additional context”.

Trump protested the decision and accused Twitter of “stifling free speech”. The next day, the president threatened to shut down or regulate social media companies and signed a decree that allows sites to be prosecuted for moderating user publications – a measure with more political than practical consequences.

US protests and ‘glorification of violence’

Also in May, Twitter signaled that a Trump post about the Minneapolis protests “glorified violence”, but did not remove the content.

“These bandits are dishonoring George Floyd’s memory, and I will not let that happen. I just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Army is with him. Any difficulty and we will take control, but when the looting begins , the shooting will begin. Thanks! “said the president’s post.

Following the post, Twitter marked the following statement:

“This tweet violated Twitter rules by glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public interest that the tweet remains accessible.”

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