By Tanya Chen for BuzzFeed News
Twitter said it made the call based on the president “making misleading health claims that could potentially dissuade people from participation in voting.”
Twitter placed a “public interest notice” on one of President Donald Trump’s tweets on Sunday that claimed — without evidence — that mail drop boxes “make it possible for a person to vote multiple times,” and that the mailboxes were not properly sanitized amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We placed a public interest notice on this Tweet for violating our Civic Integrity Policy for making misleading health claims that could potentially dissuade people from participation in voting,” Twitter said in the notice.
The company put the notice on Trump’s erroneous tweet five hours after he posted it and it had already received thousands of likes and retweets.
Twitter said it is keeping the president’s tweet up but that people will no longer be able to like, reply to, or retweet it. Only retweets with comments would be permitted.
“We’ve taken action given the Tweet violates our Rules, but have kept the Tweet on Twitter because it is important that the public still be able to see the Tweet given its relevance to ongoing matters of public importance,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.
When asked about the other baseless assertions made by the president in the tweet, the spokesperson said they have “don’t have any further comment.”
The president’s claims in the tweet are untrue and unfounded: Both registered Republicans and Democrats use mail-in voting; those votes are verified and counted by a bipartisan team. The USPS says on its website that the agency follows “guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for cleaning, which includes using disinfecting detergents, spray cleaners, and sanitizers for surfaces exposed to COVID-19.”
BuzzFeed News has reached out to the USPS about its specific sanitation procedures of physical mailboxes.
This is not the first, or second, time that Twitter has taken action in response to Trump’s tweets.
In May, the platform put warnings in front of two of his tweets about California’s mail-in voting process. “We believe those Tweets could confuse voters about what they need to do to receive a ballot and participate in the election process,” Twitter said.
Twitter said that tweet violated the company’s rules about “glorifying violence.”
Trump’s rhetoric about the USPS and mail-in ballots has become a dizzying national crisis. Over the past few weeks, the president has made and then rescinded remarks about defunding the federal agency based on false claims that they lead to rampant voter fraud.
BuzzFeed News has reached out to the White House for comment.