(JTA) – On Tuesday, May 26, Twitter instituted a practice of offering fact checks of tweets that include misleading information. Two of President Trump’s tweets yesterday were labeled with the new fact check button, which links to news stories about the topics.
When Trump tweeted: “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed. The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone…..” Twitter’s integrity chief, Yoel Roth, wrote a post that explains the policy will be applied mostly to tweets involving false information about COVID-19.
Kellyanne Conway, a top adviser to the president, wasn’t happy. On Wednesday, she warned Roth in an appearance on Fox News that he was about to get plenty of new followers. “He’s the head of integrity and his name is Yoel Roth, he’s @yoyoel,” Conway said on the morning show “Fox and Friends,” which Trump monitors closely and has promoted to his followers. “Somebody in San Francisco, go wake him up and tell him he’s about to get a lot more followers.” She noted tweets in Roth’s feed from several years ago that attack Trump, Republicans and Trump voters.
Trump is threatening to take action against Twitter and other social media platforms because of the action. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen,” he said on Twitter, without explaining what tools he had to carry that out.
Since 2018, Roth has been the head of Twitter’s integrity team, which his LinkedIn page describes as being “responsible for policy development, implementation, and investigations for spam, data privacy and security, information operations, election security, and misinformation.” It also directs “Twitter’s efforts to combat information operations and suspected state-backed activity.”
Roth, who is Jewish, has led efforts to address the recent surge of antisemitic harassment on Twitter. He said in 2018 that a focus was on bot networks spreading antisemitism. “We’ve expanded our policies, built our internal tooling, and tightened our enforcement against coordinated platform manipulation, including bot networks – regardless of the origin,” he told NPR for a story written just after the massacre of at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Some of Roth’s lighter tweets include Jewish content, including describing in 2017 a children’s book in Hebrew that his sister, Maayan, bought about a cat who sits on a rug and abides while other animals join it.
Main Photo: Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway speaks with reporters at the White House on May 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)