Twitter has attached warnings to four of Donald Trump’s total seven tweets since vote counting began last night, including three on Wednesday morning.
“Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process,” said the platform, which adopted a new policy last month aimed at safeguarding its services from being used to manipulate or interfere in elections.
Twitter stopped short of deleting the Tweets altogether or suspending Mr Trump’s account, which would temporarily prevent him from posting additional tweets on his account of nearly 89m followers.
Twitter put a warning over a Wednesday morning tweet from Mr Trump suggesting that his lead in many key states had “started to magically disappear” overnight, blaming “surprise ballot dumps” for the shift.
Vote tallies in some states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan were expected to shift towards the Democrats as postal ballots — which pollsters expected would skew towards Mr Biden — were due to be counted last, although there was no guarantee they would push the results over the line for the challenger.
It also affixed a warning to a retweet Mr Trump made of a message from an account whose author is a self-described “theocratic fascist, tyrant, beekeeper”, which claimed the latest results tally from Michigan was a cause for concern and “reason enough to go to court”.
“WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT?” Mr Trump tweeted. The president’s own words were not censored but Twitter attached a warning to the message he retweeted. That account in turn referenced a conservative commentator who published two maps of Michigan’s partial vote tally that were labelled in a way that appeared to cast doubt on the validity of the latest updates from the state, where Mr Biden moved into the lead with a 32,000-vote advantage earlier on Wednesday with 96 per cent of the vote cast.
Mr Trump then retweeted the original message, which flagged that the latest updates from Michigan had awarded the entirety of all new votes to Mr Biden. Twitter attached an information label to that tweet too, which made the tweet impossible to see at first glance.
Michigan’s Democratic secretary of state Jocelyn Benson said later on Wednesday morning that she had not seen the specific maps tweeted on social media but warned against misinformation and false graphics.
“Trusted sources of information about the count here in Michigan are our election officials and the county websites and… our website that’s reporting out the data that we encourage everyone to look at for results,” she said, adding she understood the eyes of the nation were on Michigan “right now”.
She said “just over” 100,000 votes were left to count, including absentee ballots from Detroit, Grand Rapid, Flint and Kalamazoo.
Mr Trump said overnight he wanted to seek legal recourse to bring all voting to a stop, an ambition Team Biden dismissed as “outrageous”.
Both sides claimed on Wednesday morning they had a path to victory, with several battleground states still to declare final results.