With important victories in some states, Trump did not prematurely declare victory on election night, as social media companies feared – but he did let the specter of election fraud arise unfounded.
"We're BIG, but they're trying to steal the election," Trump tweeted. “We'll never let them do that. No votes can be cast after the polls have been completed! "
We're BIG, but they're trying to steal the choice. We will never allow it. No votes can be cast after the polls have been completed!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 4, 2020
Twitter quickly took action against the tweet, placing it behind a warning and adding a misinformation label. The company explained its actions in a tweet, stating that the president's message contained a "possibly misleading claim about an election".
While Trump's wording remains somewhat ambiguous, the president appears to be attacking the integrity of the ballot papers again via email. Because mail-in ballots are slow to arrive in some states, lagging votes can play a big role in the outcome of the election. This scenario was expected and does not raise any concerns about the integrity of the voting.
Due to a huge spike in mail-in votes related to the pandemic, election night 2020 results were expected to be more ambiguous than in previous years, and this has so far been proven correct. Social media companies began developing new guidelines in the months leading up to November about the unusual circumstances of the 2020 election and its worrying misinformation ecosystem.
Twitter also said in a September announcement that it would remove or flag any tweets that encourage illegal activity and threaten a "peaceful transfer of power or orderly succession". While tweets that Twitter restricts stay online, they are placed behind a warning message that requires users to click first to view their content. For restricted tweets, retweets, likes and comments are also deactivated, which reduces the reach.
On Facebook, Where much of Trump's Twitter content is republished, his message has been labeled, reminding users that election night results and final scores may differ, but the post has not been otherwise restricted. In an email, Facebook spokesman Tom Reynolds said that shortly after it was published, Facebook called the post "in accordance with the guidelines we shared before election day".
The company posted a similar label on another Trump post that night that said, “I'm going to make a statement tonight. A big win! "Facebook had previously announced that it would mark posts calling for an early victory with an informational message that notifies users of official election results.