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Twitter Flags Tweets by Trump Officials, Family Members Claiming Pennsylvania Victory as Vote Count Continues

Newsweek logo Newsweek 11/4/2020 Meghan Roos
Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a flag: President Donald Trump speaks on election night in the East Room of the White House in the early morning hours of November 4, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Twitter flagged tweets posted by Trump officials and family members on Wednesday that claimed victory in Pennsylvania, a state in which votes were still being tallied Wednesday afternoon. © Chip Somodevilla/Getty President Donald Trump speaks on election night in the East Room of the White House in the early morning hours of November 4, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Twitter flagged tweets posted by Trump officials and family members on Wednesday that claimed victory in Pennsylvania, a state in which votes were still being tallied Wednesday afternoon.

Twitter flagged tweets from President Donald Trump's administration officials, family members and re-election campaign who claimed victory for Trump in Pennsylvania, as state election officials continued tallying votes cast in the 2020 presidential election.

The president was in the lead with about 84 percent of the state's results reported by 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday. However, an official call on who won the state had not been made by that time.

Many political experts predicted before Election Day that the outcome of the presidential race would come down to Pennsylvania. With Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden still below the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency by Wednesday evening, both candidates were hoping Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes would swing in their favor.

In lieu of an official call, some individuals close to Trump began celebrating what they believed would turn into a triumph for his campaign.

"VICTORY for President @realDonaldTrump in PENNSYLVANIA," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

"We have won Pennsylvania," Trump's son, Eric Trump, posted.

Donald Trump Jr., the eldest of the president's sons, retweeted his brother's post and added: "Based on actual math and not gamesmanship like the democrats are attempting."

Twitter added flags to each of their posts that read: "Official sources may not have called the race when this was Tweeted." The flag was hyperlinked to a Twitter feed that compiled election coverage from several media outlets.

Twitter added the same flag to a tweet from Trump's campaign that similarly declared victory in Pennsylvania. When Trump himself posted two tweets early Wednesday evening that said he won Pennsylvania and three other battleground states, Twitter again added the flag. The platform also marked the president's second tweet, which said there was "a large number of secretly dumped ballots" in Michigan, as potentially misleading and in violation of Twitter's civic integrity policy.

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Twitter and Facebook both flagged numerous posts that the platforms said spread misinformation or violated their company policies throughout the election cycle. After in-person voting concluded and ballots were being tallied across the country Tuesday evening, Trump posted on Twitter and Facebook early Wednesday morning that Democrats were trying to "steal" the election from him—though official sources had yet to call many key battleground states. Both Twitter and Facebook flagged the posts as potentially misleading.

Most national polls conducted in recent months indicated Biden had an advantage heading into the election, and state polls conducted in October by Marist College, Monmouth University, Morning Consult and several others also said Biden was in the lead among registered and likely voters in Pennsylvania. With record-high voter turnout and more mail-in ballots cast than ever before this election cycle, official sources have hesitated to call competitive states like Pennsylvania too quickly due to the time states have said they need to count the votes their election departments received.

Newsweek reached out to Trump's campaign for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

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