all atwitter
January 11, 2021

Twitter announced on Monday night it has removed more than 70,000 accounts linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory, citing concerns that the adherents could spread material "with the potential to lead to offline harm."

In a blog post, Twitter explained that the accounts "were engaged in sharing harmful QAnon-associated content at scale and were primarily dedicated to the propagation of this conspiracy theory across the service." In July, Twitter banned 7,000 QAnon accounts.

President Trump had his Twitter account permanently suspended on Friday because he violated rules against inciting violence. Over the last several weeks, he pushed baseless claims of voter fraud, urged Vice President Mike Pence to overthrow the election results, and encouraged supporters to attend a "big protest in D.C. on Jan. 6th," adding, "Be there, will be wild!" This event ended with a pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol as lawmakers certified the election results.

The removal of tens of thousands of QAnon Twitter accounts coincided with several conservative personalities, including former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), complaining that their number of followers had suddenly dropped. Sanders took this very personally, tweeting that "the radical left" and "their big tech allies" were attempting to "marginalize, censor, or silence the American people." Catherine Garcia

November 23, 2020

President Trump has yet to concede the election, and New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman thinks his Monday evening tweet about what is in "the best interest of our country" is "the closest to a concession Trump is going to get."

Trump wrote that he spoke to Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, and recommended that she "do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols," adding that he has "told my team to do the same." Murphy needed to ascertain the election in order to formally start the transition process, and after weeks of delays, she sent President-elect Joe Biden a letter on Monday telling him the transition can officially start.

Haberman tweeted that she's been told some of Trump's advisers "had been urging him" to let the transition begin before Thanksgiving, "even if he never said the word 'concede.'" Between the Trump campaign and other Republicans, more than 30 lawsuits have been filed in six swing states, in an attempt to contest the election results, NBC News reports. Despite Trump and members of his legal team claiming there has been widespread voter fraud, no court has found a single piece of evidence.

Trump's election legal team is being led by his longtime friend and personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City. Giuliani has been "key in stoking Trump's conspiracy theories," Haberman said, but people with knowledge of the matter told her that a recent court loss in Pennsylvania made Trump realize "Giuliani was not painting an honest picture" of his chances of actually changing the election results. Giuliani, she added, took control of Trump's legal team after the campaign dropped a lawsuit in Maricopa County, Arizona, and he warned Trump that "other advisers were lying to him." Catherine Garcia

July 21, 2020

Twitter said Tuesday it is cracking down on accounts that spread the QAnon right-wing conspiracy theory, and has removed more than 7,000 such accounts over the last few weeks after they engaged in targeted harassment.

A Twitter spokesperson told NBC News the company will stop recommending accounts and content related to QAnon and will keep QAnon information from appearing in trending topics or search results. It is also taking steps to keep QAnon followers from coordinating harassment campaigns against other people. Twitter said these actions will affect roughly 150,000 accounts.

QAnon began with an anonymous person making the claim, without any evidence, that President Trump is fighting the "deep state," a group of Satan-worshiping elites who are part of an international child sex trafficking ring. People wearing "Q" hats and shirts or carrying signs are often spotted at Trump rallies and events, and several adherents have won Republican Congressional primaries this year. Catherine Garcia

June 21, 2020

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) spent his Father's Day doing something with his family that is near and dear to his heart: trolling President Trump on Twitter.

Lieu — whose Twitter header photo compares the size of former President Barack Obama's inauguration crowd in 2009 to Trump's in 2017 — posted a 13-second video on Sunday afternoon with the caption, "Today I released my first campaign ad. It was produced by my kids. Let me know if you like it."

Lieu, standing in front of a campaign sign and wearing a bright red tie, is shown using one hand to drink from a glass of water. He looks around, nods, brings the glass back up for round two, then tosses the remaining water. It's a reenactment of Trump drinking a glass of water during his Tulsa rally on Saturday night, after appearing to have trouble doing so during his commencement speech last weekend at West Point.

Their bits have been hits — Trump received big cheers from the Tulsa crowd, while Lieu's video has been viewed more than 2.2 million times as of Sunday evening. Catherine Garcia

June 19, 2020

Twitter labeled a video retweeted by President Trump on Thursday night "manipulated media," after determining it violated company policy.

The video uses footage that went viral last year of a black toddler and a white toddler enthusiastically greeting one another on a sidewalk. A fake CNN chyron has been added that reads, "Terrified todler [sic] runs from racist baby." The original clip is then shown, followed by the words: "America is not the problem. Fake News is."

CNN's communications team responded: "CNN did cover this story — exactly as it happened. Just as we reported your positions on race (and poll numbers). We'll continue working with facts rather than tweeting fake videos that exploit innocent children. We invite you to do the same. Be better."

Twitter spokeswoman Katie Rosborough told The Washington Post the tweet "has been labeled per our synthetic and manipulated media policy to give people more context." In May, Twitter for the first time labeled two of Trump's tweets, about mail-in ballots, as being misleading. A few days later, the company put his tweet about looters being shot under a warning that says it "violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence." Critics have been calling on Twitter and other social media platforms to do something about the rampant disinformation being spread about everything from politics to the coronavirus. Catherine Garcia

May 27, 2019

President Trump responded early Monday morning to a tweet made by foreign policy expert and NYU political science professor Ian Bremmer.

Bremmer on Sunday tweeted a fake quote attributed to the president, which he later deleted after backlash from journalists, political analysts, and Twitter users everywhere. Bremmer attempted to justify his fake tweet before deleting it, saying that the quote was "kinda plausible" and that that was "the point."

(Screenshot/Courtesy Mediaite)

Trump fired back early Monday morning, panning the "age of Fake News" and the news media. "People think they can say anything and get away with it," Trump tweeted.

Trump, who has 233 statements rated as false on PolitiFact, called for libel laws to be modified to hold journalists accountable. But it's unclear whether he has the power to do so, Fox News reported. In response to Trump's earlier calls to change libel laws, Brian Hauss, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said that "the president does not have the authority" to change libel laws, since they fall under state, rather than federal, jurisdiction.

Read more at Fox News. Shivani Ishwar

November 9, 2017

If you don't have a blue checkmark next to your name on Twitter, it might take awhile before you get it.

The company announced on Thursday it is taking a closer look at how it decides which users get verified and temporarily suspending the service, following outrage over the verification of Jason Kessler, the organizer of the white nationalist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. "Verification was meant to authenticate identity and voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance," Twitter said. "We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it. We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon."

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has said he takes seriously the issue of harassment on the site, and on Oct. 13 tweeted the company "decided to take a more aggressive stance in our rules and how we enforce them." Kessler, who was verified on Tuesday, has previously flouted those rules, tweeting that Heather Heyer, the woman killed at the Charlottesville rally, was "a fat, disgusting Communist. Communists have killed 94 million. Looks like it was payback time." He deleted the tweet, first saying he was hacked, then claiming he tweeted after combining alcohol with prescription drugs, the Los Angeles Times reports. Catherine Garcia

March 27, 2017

If you read President Trump's latest tweets and set aside a quarter for every time he says "Russia," you'll have enough money to buy a used copy of The Art of the Deal.

In the first of a series of tweets sent Monday night, Trump said he thought an investigation into Russian ties to the United States was a good idea, so long as the focus was on the only name he utters more than his own — Hillary Clinton.

After repeating a falsehood about his former opponent, Trump moved on and hit his next target: the House Freedom Caucus, the ultra-conservative group that did not support the Republicans' health-care bill. Their refusal to back the American Health Care Act, along with opposition from moderate Republicans, forced GOP leadership to call off the vote Friday.

After that confusing attempt at a burn, Trump ended his late-night tweet-storm with a promise. Catherine Garcia

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