Twitter fact-checks China official after confronted over Trump double-standard

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Confronted with an apparent double standard in its lack of fact-check warnings on tweets by a Chinese government spokesman versus the hardline it took with President Trump this week, Twitter on Wednesday added notations to the postings, which falsely accused the US government of causing the coronavirus pandemic.

The social media company’s decision follows its flagging of a pair of tweets from President Trump that said mail-in ballots are vulnerable to fraud. That decision outraged Trump and called into question the political bias of the man in charge of fact-checking for the social media giant.

But when The Post asked Twitter spokeswoman Liz Kelley whether the company would similarly annotate Zhao Lijian’s dubious March tweets, she said they would not add fact-check warnings “at this time.”

Pressed further for a rationale, Kelley later said the company had changed its mind and “after further review, we’ve added labels to these two tweets.”


In a statement to The Post, Twitter said: “The tweets in question contain potentially misleading and harmful content about COVID-19 and have been labeled to provide additional context to the public. This enforcement decision is in line with the approach we shared earlier this month.”

In one tweet, Zhao linked to an article and wrote: “This article is very much important to each and every one of us. Please read and retweet it. COVID-19: Further Evidence that the Virus Originated in the US.”

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