SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — President Trump on Friday morning tweeted a link to a fake news story, headlined “Twitter Shuts Down Entire Network To Slow Spread of Negative Biden News.”
The president appeared to believe it was true, not realizing that the source of the story, the Babylon Bee, is a self-proclaimed satire website. With the link, Trump added to the caption:
Trump even tagged the Babylon Bee’s account in the caption. Their Twitter bio says “Fake news you can trust.”
The website’s fake story in part reads:
“[Twitter CEO Jack] Dorsey smashed a glass box in his office reading ‘Break In Case Of Bad Publicity For Democrats.’ Inside the case was a sledgehammer for smashing Twitter’s servers.”
Twitter did go down for a while on Thursday evening during the two presidential candidates’ individual town halls.
The @TwitterSupport account tweeted at 4:16 p.m. PT that the company had some trouble with its internal systems, “and don’t have any evidence of a security breach or hack.”
By 11:32 p.m., Twitter said it should be working as expected for everyone.
The Babylon Bee has also tweeted out a satire story headlined “Trump Spends Afternoon Shouting From White House Balcony During Twitter Outage.” Their “About Us” section reads: “The Babylon Bee is the world’s best satire site, totally inerrant in all its truth claims. We write satire about Christian stuff, political stuff, and everyday life.”
However, Trump in another tweet appeared to believe it was Twitter intentionally protecting his presidential opponent Joe Biden:
This is not the first the president has used his Twitter account to spread misinformation—whether intentionally or not. Trump, who constantly attacks news outlets for being “fake news,” has retweeted a false conspiracy theory about Osama Bin Laden.
His town hall host, Savanna Guthrie, pressed him on spreading the debunked conspiracy on Thursday, to which he responded: “That was a retweet, that was an opinion of somebody … I’ll put it out there, people can decide for themselves.”
Trump’s tweets and Facebook posts have also been recently flagged as misinformation by the social media companies. On October 6, he had tweeted that “sometimes over 100,000” people die from the Flu, and said COVID-19 is “far less lethal” in most populations.
This is incorrect, and the tweet now includes a disclaimer:
“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, in the 2018 to 2019 season, there were 34,200 American deaths from influenza. As of October 2020, over 209,000 people have died in the U.S. alone from the coronavirus.
The Babylon Bee responded to Trump’s attention by coming out with another story, “President Trump Declares The Babylon Bee His Most-Trusted News Source.”
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