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Trump shares joke story on Biden, Twitter in earnest

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US President Donald Trump shared a satirical article Friday about Twitter shutting down to slow the spread of negative news on his election rival Joe Biden, apparently unaware that it was a joke.

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE – OCTOBER 16: A person works to repair a vandalized sign supporting President Donald Trump October 16, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. With 18 days until the election, Biden is campaigning in Michigan, a state President Donald Trump won in 2016 by less than 11,000 votes, the narrowest margin of victory in the state's presidential election history.   Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP

Trump, who often rails against "fake news" while retweeting misinformation to his 87 million followers, tweeted a link to the tall tale headlined: "Twitter Shuts Down Entire Network To Slow Spread Of Negative Biden News." 

"Wow, this has never been done in history," Trump tweeted — correctly, as it turns out, because Twitter had done no such thing.

"This includes his really bad interview last night. Why is Twitter doing this."

The story Trump shared was from the Babylon Bee, a satirical news site with the motto "Fake news you can trust" clearly visible on its Twitter page.

Trump's tweet came after he rebuked Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday for blocking links to a New York Post article purporting to expose corrupt dealings by Biden and his son in Ukraine.

The social media giants said they had stopped linking to the article because the provenance of the information was questionable. 

Trump has tweeted articles from the Babylon Bee in the past and the site told The New York Times earlier in October that it was "assured" Trump knew it was satire.

The website's chief executive officer Seth Dillon offered his own lighthearted take soon after attracting Trump's attention, proudly declaring: "The Babylon Bee is the president's most trusted news source."

Trump's propensity for sharing wild, unfounded accusations has not been diminished by his political career, which was forged in the cauldron of the racist "birtherism" conspiracy theory alleging that his predecessor Barack Obama was not born in the US.

Only this week, he shared a bizarre claim originating from the emergent QAnon movement that Biden was involved in a conspiracy to fake the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011.

At a televised town hall event in Miami on Thursday, Trump defended his retweets, saying "people can decide for themselves" if the outlandish theories he shares have any merit.

"I don't get that," NBC interviewer Savannah Guthrie retorted. "You're the president, you're not like someone's crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever."


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