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Twitter labeled Trump tweets with a fact check for the first time

May 26, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

President Donald Trump gestures to people in the audience after an event on protecting seniors with diabetes in the Rose Garden White House, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

For the first time, Twitter called tweets from Donald Trump "potentially misleading" — a decision that prompted the president to accuse the social media platform of election meddling.

Washington (CNN Business)For the first time, Twitter called tweets from Donald Trump "potentially misleading" — a decision that prompted the president to accuse the social media platform of election meddling.

On Tuesday, Twitter highlighted two of Trump's tweets that falsely claimed mail-in ballots would lead to widespread voter fraud, appending a message the company has introduced to combat misinformation and disputed or unverified claims.

Twitter said the move was aimed at providing "context" around Trump's remarks.

But Twitter's unprecedented decision is likely to raise further questions about its willingness to consistently apply the label to other Trump tweets that have been deemed misleading by third parties, particularly as the president has lobbed baseless allegations against former Rep. Joe Scarborough regarding the death of a congressional staffer years ago.

Trump's allegations draw on a discredited conspiracy theory claiming, without evidence, that Scarborough played a role in the 2001 death of then-staffer Lori Klausutis.

In the letter, which became public on Tuesday, Timothy Klausutis pleaded with Dorsey to remove Trump's tweets.

When asked by CNN's Dana Bash on Tuesday about whether social media companies should take action against Trump for pushing conspiracy theories that a critic committed murder, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said: "I'm of the view that social media companies have to reexamine whether or not — for example, if you put something out saying that — that same outlandish thing that the president thinks . . .

Shortly after the labels were applied, Trump took to Twitter to claim the company "is interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election" and "stifling FREE SPEECH. " He added that he "will not allow it to happen!"

Twitter declined to comment on Trump's claims.

Twitter said Tuesday that Trump's tweets about mail-in voting did not violate the company's rules because they don't explicitly discourage people from voting.

But, the company said, the label offers context surrounding Trump's claims.

"These Tweets (here and here) contain potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots," Twitter spokesperson Katie Rosborough told CNN Business in an email.

Rosborough confirmed that this marks the first instances in which Twitter has labeled any Trump tweet as potentially misleading.

Some faulted Twitter for not explicitly saying in the label that Trump's tweets contained false information; other users said the company should have used a larger font size.

The instant feedback highlights how Twitter, which has long grappled with how to address Trump's tweets, may now find itself under even greater pressure than before to act in a consistent and transparent manner.

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