- There’s a big spat between Twitter and Facebook right now over the nature of free speech and censorship online.
- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared on Fox News on Thursday to say Facebook won’t apply fact-checks to political figures like Trump, following Twitter’s decision to fact-check two of the president’s tweets about mail-in voting.
- Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo attacked Facebook late on Thursday saying it is a hotbed for anti-vaxxer coronavirus conspiracy theories.
- He cited a survey, in which 50% of Fox News viewers responded they believe the conspiracy that Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates wants to distribute coronavirus vaccines as a way of tracking people.
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There’s an ongoing spat between Twitter and Facebook right now over whether social media platforms should fact-check politicians, after Twitter slapped warning and fact-check labels on President Trump’s recent tweets.
The latest salvo is from Twitter’s former CEO Dick Costolo, who pitched in to criticize Facebook.
That’s after CEO Mark Zuckerberg went on Fox News to say his company wouldn’t fact-check President Trump in the same way as Twitter.
Zuckerberg went on Fox News on Wednesday to talk about Twitter’s decision to put fact-check labels on two tweets from Trump which claimed mail-in votes in California would be “substantially fraudulent.”
Zuckerberg said Facebook wouldn’t introduce similar measures. “I believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online. I think in general, private companies shouldn’t be, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that,” said the Facebook CEO.
Costolo, who was Twitter’s CEO from 2010 to 2015, came after Zuckerberg following this interview by suggesting that Facebook has become a hotbed for misinformation around the coronavirus and vaccines:
“According to a recent poll, half of the people watching Zuckerberg on Fox News last night believe Bill Gates is trying to control them by implanting microchips in a coronavirus vaccine,” Costolo wrote late Thursday.
“These viewers likely sat there with a phone logged into facebook […] This facebook login controls what they see, what they’ll do next, when they’ll talk to others. It knows where they are, what they like, what else they’re doing, what they’ll buy. It largely determines whether they’re happy, sad, angry. They won’t get vaccinated, they won’t logout.”
—dick costolo (@dickc) May 28, 2020
Costolo is referring in his tweets to a survey of 1,640 Americans conducted by Yahoo News and YouGov. In the survey, 50% of Fox News viewers responded saying they believe Bill Gates wanting to distribute COVID-19 vaccines as a way to track people is true.
A report from media analysis company Zignal labs in April found conspiracy theories blaming Bill Gates for the coronavirus were exploding on both Facebook and Twitter, seemingly spurred on by right-wing personalities.
Current Twitter CEO and founder Jack Dorsey earlier responded to Zuckerberg saying Twitter’s goal isn’t to be the “arbiter of truth” but rather: “Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves.”
Twitter isn’t stepping back from the ongoing firestorm.
On Friday morning, the company added a new warning to a tweet the president wrote about the riots in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd.
Trump tweeted that the military could get involved in curbing the riots. “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he wrote.
Twitter placed a block on this tweet saying it broke the platform’s rules on “glorifying violence,” so users have to click through if they want to read it.
The president on Thursday had signed an executive order that sought to create new regulations about how social media firms moderate speech.