President Donald Trump taps the screen of a cell phone around the time a tweet was posted from his Twitter account. It did so during a small business reopening panel discussion in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, the United States, on June 18, 2020.
Leah Millis | Reuters
Twitter slapped warning signs on several posts by President Donald Trump on Thursday, suggesting the news violated a policy against advocacy for illegal electoral activity.
The move marks at least the third time the president's preferred social media company has put a "public interest notice" on its post.
"Our goal is to prevent people from giving advice about double-voting, which may be illegal," the company wrote in a tweet that is part of a thread explaining enforcement measures.
The tweets, sent Thursday morning and circulating widely on the platform before Twitter went active, encouraged voters who had submitted ballots by mail to go to their polling station on polling day to see that their votes were counted.
"If it wasn't counted, VOTE (which is a citizen's right)," wrote Trump in one of the posts hidden behind a label.
Trump posted the same comments on Facebook with a note underneath the post that "US email votes have a long history of trustworthiness and that is forecast to continue this year". The Facebook label directs readers to the company's voting information center.
Unlike Facebook's action, Twitter's move prevents users from reading the posts unless they click through a dialog warning that the tweet "violated Twitter's citizenship and election integrity rules," but that it did " it is in the public interest that the tweet is still available. ""
It is illegal to vote twice on purpose. After the president encouraged North Carolina residents to vote twice on Wednesday evening, the state's top electoral officer issued a memorandum warning that it was a crime.
Karen Brinson Bell, the executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, also stopped voters from verifying that their vote was counted in person, noting that they could do it through an online tracker.
North Carolina, a major battlefield state, will begin sending postal ballot papers on Friday. This is the first state in the nation to do so.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended the president's comments on the double vote earlier Thursday in an interview with Fox News.
McEnany said the president had "suggested no one do anything illegal".
"What he said very clearly is to make sure your vote is tabulated and if it is not then vote," she said.
In explaining its actions, Twitter stated that "the laws to invalidate mail-in ballot papers for personal voting by individuals are complex and vary significantly from state to state."
"To protect the people on Twitter, we are on the side of limiting the circulation of tweets advising people to take action that could be illegal or invalidate their votes in connection with voting," the company said.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.