The New York Times’ editorial board is calling on leading technology and social media companies to prepare for an event in which President Donald Trump declares himself the winner of the 2020 election before it’s over.
"Imagine: It’s midnight, and the electoral map looks quite red. But news networks and election officials aren’t calling the swing states, as this year’s record numbers of mail-in and absentee ballots have yet to be fully counted," reads the editorial released on Sunday.
"Mr. Trump, leading in the popular vote, decides he’s seen enough. He takes to his social media platforms and declares that he has won reelection and will accept no other result. He tells his tens of millions of followers that the Democrats and the press will try to change the result and steal the election. The door to unrest and constitutional crisis swings wide open."
Trump has repeatedly cast doubts on voting by mail, and has suggested that he will not accept the results of the upcoming election.
“Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” he said last week, when asked if he would step down after the election. “I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”
"Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have all pledged to crack down on misinformation around voting and electoral outcomes. Perhaps in the above scenario they append a label to the president’s posts saying that the information is disputed and that the results are not in," the editorial continues.
"They could introduce friction into the algorithms to slow the reach of the posts," the board said. "But pro-Trump lawmakers and pundits most likely would have picked up the argument by then, amplifying the president’s message. What started as one prominent piece of voter disinformation easily could become widespread in the Republican Party and among a large segment of Americans. What would the platforms do then?"
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