When Twitter took the unprecedented step of adding a heinously biased “fact-check” to President Donald Trump’s tweets about the problems with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D-Calif.) institution of vote by mail by fiat, conservatives hunted for an explanation. Fox News’ Gregg Re zeroed in on Twitter “Head of Site Integrity” Yoel Roth, who has a long history of anti-Trump tirades.
Re noted that Roth’s LinkedIn profile boasts that he is in charge of “developing and enforcing Twitter’s rules,” supposedly including the new policy of adding a “fact-check” to messages from the president of the United States.
Twitter responded by insisting that the buck does not stop with Yoel Roth, and by lamenting the negative attention devoted to one of the company’s employees.
“No one person at Twitter is responsible for our policies or enforcement actions, and it’s unfortunate to see individual employees targeted for company decisions,” a spokesperson told Fox News. The spokesperson also directed Fox News to a tweet from Brandon Borrman, the company’s vice president of communications.
“No one person here is responsible for our polices or enforcement actions. People who decide to target one person for decisions they don’t agree with know damn well what they’re doing,” Borrman insisted.
Re noted that “Twitter declined to elaborate as to why Roth’s apparent biases were not relevant given what he has acknowledged is a leading role in deciding how to flag certain discourse on the platform.”
Indeed, Yoel Roth’s apparent biases are indeed relevant to the company’s attack on Trump. While the new “fact-check” may not have been Roth’s brainchild, it is likely he was involved in its development. If he played no role in it, Twitter likely would have revealed that information.
Twitter’s “head of site integrity”
Roth has repeatedly attacked Trump in the most hyperbolic terms. He described the current administration as “ACTUAL NAZIS IN THE WHITE HOUSE.”
He defended the term “fly-over states” by insisting, “we fly over those states that voted for a racist tangerine for a reason.”
Roth compared Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway to Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels.
Twitter’s “head of site integrity” also described Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as a “personality-free bag of farts.” Classy…
As of Wednesday afternoon, Roth has yet to delete any of these tweets.
As of Wednesday, @Twitter's head of site integrity @YoYoel has still not deleted these tweets. Twitter also has yet to confirm that Yoel was NOT involved with the horrendously biased "fact-check" against @realDonaldTrump & @GOPChairwoman by extension https://t.co/NiqfdkR9Zc pic.twitter.com/P2ioHO9y7a
— Tyler O'Neil (@Tyler2ONeil) May 27, 2020
Yoel Roth is free to tweet whatever he wants, of course — as well he should be. These anti-Trump tirades, however, are extremely relevant considering the Big Tech platform’s decision to “fact-check” the president.
Why this Twitter “fact-check” is so heinous
Trump had decided to comment on the California Republican Party’s lawsuit against Gavin Newsom. Newsom had used the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to unilaterally declare that California would incorporate vote by mail in the 2020 election. According to the California GOP lawsuit, this not only violates the Constitution — which stipulates that legislatures, not governors, make election law — but also violated voters’ rights by opening up the election to fraud and abuse.
The president made a few hyperbolic claims about the lawsuit, but Twitter’s “fact-check” insisted that experts claim “there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud.” In doing so, the platform not only ignored the studies and experts the California GOP cited in the lawsuit but also recent news reports.
For instance, the Texas Tribune reported that Dallas officials “sequestered” 700 “suspicious ballots.” The New York Times reported that “votes cast by mail are less likely to be counted, more likely to be compromised & more likely to be contested than those cast in a voting booth, statistics show.” Secretary of State John Merrill (R-Ala.) told CNN that voter fraud very much does exist, and it often involves vote by mail.
This Twitter "fact check" system is such a joke.
They cite liberals from outlets like HuffPost, Vox, even the ACLU.
Who don't they cite?
An actual SoS who said TODAY that in the last 5 years, 83% of the fraud in his state has been with mail-in ballots. pic.twitter.com/9TAqMjQshC
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) May 26, 2020
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany listed numerous other examples in this thread.
🚨 Get the facts about mail-in ballots!
Will the media, and @Twitter, acknowledge these real concerns with mass mail-in voting?
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) May 26, 2020
Big Tech employees skew left, and those who are conservative either keep their mouths shut or find themselves exiled. In such an environment, it seems little wonder that Twitter executives would not consider Yoel Roth’s blatant bias disqualifying for leading important projects like developing new rules.
Twitter needs to learn that this kind of thing is not acceptable. If the Big Tech platform is going to police speech like the president’s, it needs to include viewpoint diversity among its leadership.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.