- Twitter slapped President Donald Trump with a fact check warning on Tuesday after he falsely claimed that increased access to mail-in voting will lead to extensive voter fraud.
- This is the first time Twitter has labeled a tweet from the president with a warning, despite facing pressure to do so for years.
- By Wednesday morning, Trump threatened to “close down” Twitter and other social media sites, though it is unclear how he would involve the federal government or if this is simply meant to put pressure on the platform.
Twitter Slaps Trump With Fact-Check Warning
President Donald Trump is threatening to involve the federal government and potentially “close down” social media sites like Twitter after the platform issued a fact-check label on a post he made regarding mail-in voting.
While Twitter has been increasing its usage of fact-check warnings ahead of the 2020 presidential elections, this is the first time Twitter has directly labeled a tweet from the president.
“There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent,” Trump said in the first of two tweets on Tuesday. “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…..”
“….living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one,” he continued in the second tweet. “That will be followed up with professionals telling all of these people, many of whom have never even thought of voting before, how, and for whom, to vote. This will be a Rigged Election. No way!”
Near the bottom of both of those tweets, Twitter has issued the hyperlinked warning: “Get the facts about mail-in ballots.” Clicking that link redirects users to a page featuring a series of related articles from outlets like CNN, The Hill, and The Washington Post.
Additionally, in a bulleted section above that, Twitter issued several statements highlighting why it decided to include the warning:
- “Trump falsely claimed that mail-in ballots would lead to ‘a Rigged Election.’ However, fact-checkers say there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud.”
- “Trump falsely claimed that California will send mail-in ballots to ‘anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there.’ In fact, only registered voters will receive ballots.”
- “Five states already vote entirely by mail and all states offer some form of mail-in absentee voting, according to NBC News.”
While it’s nothing new to see the president making claims that mail-in voting is going to lead to voter fraud (even though experts say voter fraud is incredibly rare), Twitter’s move represents a major new step for the platform. For years, it has faced criticism over how to handle Trump’s tweets.
In the past, Twitter argued that users would jump into the debate and expose false information themselves; however, it has recently increased its steps to outright label misleading or false content.
In March, the Trump campaign posted an out-of-context clip of Joe Biden, which Twitter labeled as “manipulated media.”
Notably, Trump posted the exact same content on Facebook, but Facebook has said it doesn’t plan to label or remove the post.
“We believe that people should be able to have a robust debate about the electoral process, which is why we have crafted our policies to focus on misrepresentations that would interfere with the vote,” a spokesperson said, echoing Twitter’s previous reasoning for not implementing fact-checking.
Trump Rails Against Twitter for Fact-Checking Him
Unsurprisingly, Trump was less than thrilled with Twitter’s fact check.
Tuesday afternoon, Trump accused the platform of interfering in the 2020 Presidential elections, going on to criticize it by saying, “….Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!”
Trump stepped up his threat Wednesday morning by saying he planned to either strongly regulate” or “close down” not only Twitter but social media platforms as a whole.
“Twitter has now shown that everything we have been saying about them (and their other compatriots) is correct,” Trump added a few hours later. “Big action to follow!”
Currently, it’s unknown specifically how Trump would want the federal government to crack down on Twitter. It’s also unclear if this was nothing more than an empty threat meant to pressure Twitter and other social media platforms to back off. In fact, such threats aren’t completely unknown for Trump to make.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Trump reportedly worked to take action against social media platforms by floating the idea of forming a panel to review complaints of anti-conservative bias.
As far as Twitter’s response to Trump’s backlash, a spokesperson for the company has said in a statement to a number of media outlets that Trump’s tweets “contain potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots.”
Twitter Doesn’t Plan to Censor the Scarborough Tweets
While Twitter issued a warning on Trump’s mail-in voting tweets, it has refused to remove tweets Trump has made promoting a false conspiracy theory.
Those tweets involve Lori Klausutis, a woman who died in 2001 from complications of an undiagnosed heart condition while working for then-Representative Joe Scarborough. In those tweets, Trump has suggested Scarborough was behind her death.
On Tuesday, a letter from Klausutis’ widower went public. In it, he urged Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to delete Trump’s tweets about her, calling them “horrifying lies.”
Publicly, Twitter has told CNN Business that it doesn’t plan to take action against the Scarborough tweets; however, according to an anonymous source who spoke to The Washington Post, Twitter is debating whether to take action on them.
See what others are saying: (CNN) (The Washington Post) (Fox Business)
Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos
The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.
Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws.
For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform.
The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.
It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end.
The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions.
First Twitch Hack
Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.
That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already.
Twitch Blames Server Configuration Error for Hack, Says There’s No Indication That Login Info Leaked
The platform also said full credit card numbers were not reaped by hackers, as that data is stored externally.
Login and Credit Card Info Secure
Twitch released a security update late Wednesday claiming it had seen “no indication” that users’ login credentials were stolen by hackers who leaked the entire platform’s source code earlier in the day.
“Full credit card numbers are not stored by Twitch, so full credit card numbers were not exposed,” the company added in its announcement.
The leaked data, uploaded to 4chan, includes code related to the platform’s security tools, as well as exact totals of how much it has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
Early Thursday, Twitch also announced that it has now reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Streamers looking for their new keys can visit a dashboard set up by the platform, though users may need to manually update their software with the new key before being able to stream again depending on what kind of software they use.
As far as what led to the hackers being able to steal the data, Twitch blamed an error in a “server configuration change that was subsequently accessed by a malicious third party,” confirming that the leak was not the work of a current employee who used internal tools.
Will Users Go to Other Streaming Platforms?
While no major creators have said they are leaving Twitch for a different streaming platform because of the hack, many small users have either announced their intention to leave Twitch or have said they are considering such a move.
It’s unclear if the leak, coupled with other ongoing Twitch controversies, will ultimately lead to a significant user exodus, but there’s little doubt that other platforms are ready and willing to leverage this hack in the hopes of attracting new users.
At least one big-name streamer has already done as much, even if largely only presenting the idea as a playful jab rather than with serious intention.
“Pretty crazy day today,” YouTube’s Valkyrae said on a stream Wednesday while referencing a tweet she wrote earlier the day.
“YouTube is looking to sign more streamers,” that tweet reads.
“I mean, they are! … No shade to Twitch… Ah! Well…” Valkyrae said on stream before interrupting herself to note that she was not being paid by YouTube to make her comments.
The Entirety of Twitch Has Been Leaked Online, Including How Much Top Creators Earn
The data dump, which could be useful for some of Twitch’s biggest competitors, could signify one of the most encompassing platform leaks ever.
Massive Collection of Data Leaked
Twitch’s full source code was uploaded to 4chan Wednesday morning after it was obtained by hackers.
Among the 125 GB of stolen data is information revealing that Amazon, which owns Twitch, has at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library. That library, codenamed Vapor, would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
With Amazon being the all-encompassing giant that it is, it’s not too surprising that it would try to develop a Steam rival, but it’s eyecatching news nonetheless considering how much the release of Vapor could shake up the market.
The leaked data also showcased exactly how much Twitch has paid its creators, including the platform’s top accounts, such as the group CriticalRole, as well as steamers xQcOW, Tfue, Ludwig, Moistcr1tikal, Shroud, HasanAbi, Sykkuno, Pokimane, Ninja, and Amouranth.
These figures only represent payouts directly from Twitch. Each creator mentioned has made additional money through donations, sponsorships, and other off-platform ventures. Sill, the information could be massively useful for competitors like YouTube Gaming, which is shelling out big bucks to ink deals with creators.
Data related to Twitch’s internal security tools, as well as code related to software development kits and its use of Amazon Web Services, was also released with the hack. In fact, so much data was made public that it could constitute one of the most encompassing platform dumps ever.
Streamer CDawgVA, who has just under 500,000 subscribers on Twitch, tweeted about the severity of the data breach on Wednesday.
“I feel like calling what Twitch just experienced as “leak” is similar to me shitting myself in public and trying to call it a minor inconvenience,” he wrote. “It really doesn’t do the situation justice.”
Despite that, many of the platform’s top streamers have been quite casual about the situation.
“Hey, @twitch EXPLAIN?”xQc tweeted. Amouranth replied with a laughing emoji and the text, “This is our version of the Pandora papers.”
Meanwhile, Pokimane tweeted, “at least people can’t over-exaggerate me ‘making millions a month off my viewers’ anymore.”
Others, such as Moistcr1tikal and HasanAbi argued that their Twitch earning are already public information given that they can be easily determined with simple calculations.
Could More Data Come Out?
This may not be the end of the leak, which was labeled as “part one.” If true, there’s no reason to think that the leakers wouldn’t publish a part two.
For example, they don’t seem to be too fond of Twitch and said they hope this data dump “foster[s] more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space.”
They added that the platform is a “disgusting toxic cesspool” and included the hashtag #DoBetterTwitch, which has been used in recent weeks to drive boycotts against the platform as smaller creators protest the ease at which trolls can use bots to spam their chats with racist, sexist, and homophobic messages.
Still, this leak does appear to lack one notable set of data: password and address information of Twitch users.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the leakers don’t have it. It could just mean they are only currently interested in sharing Twitch’s big secrets.
Regardless, Twitch users and creators are being strongly urged to change their passwords as soon as possible and enable two-factor authentication.