The role that social media giants play in political and cultural debates has become increasingly contentious. Progressives blame Facebook and others for permitting misleading and false ads and narratives to exist on their sites during the 2016 election. They have pushed those companies to police political speech they deem inappropriate. Conservatives, on the other hand, feel threatened by the major Silicon Valley firms. They know that overwhelmingly most tech executives and employees dislike conservatives’ views on issues such as abortion and transgender rights. They fear their access to the increasingly important means of communication will be censored absent federal intervention, and many support efforts to force the giants to keep their platforms open to all.
Trump’s action was prompted by Twitter’s decision this week to place a fact-check on two of Trump’s tweets that alleged mail-in voting encourages voter fraud, a claim many election analysts say is patently false. The decision to fact-check Trump’s tweets is a de facto editorial comment showing that Twitter disapproved of their content.