Tech billionaire Elon Musk gained control of Twitter only four days ago… but the website already looks different.
For more than two years, Twitter had been applying its “fact-checker” very selectively, but it just sicced the fact-checker on President Joe Biden’s White House.
The White House tweeted, “Seniors are getting the biggest increase in Social Security checks in 10 years through President Biden’s leadership.”
Twitter’s fact-checker hit back. “Seniors will receive a large Social Security benefit increase due to the annual cost of living adjustment [COLA], which is based on the inflation rate,” the fact-checker wrote, citing a 1972 law tying Social Security payments to the rate of inflation.
The White House tried to quickly delete the tweet… but Twitter users had already obtained screenshots.
Take a look —
Update: White House deleted the tweet.
Love the new Twitter https://t.co/VsJGi1ecoH
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) November 2, 2022
White House press secretary acknowledged the deleted tweet in a press conference. When asked about the White House’s decision to delete, Jean-Pierre said, “The tweet was not complete.”
In other words, the White House was lying by omission.
However, Jean-Pierre tried to spin this scandal. She argued that the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act” was decreasing seniors’ Medicare premiums.
According to Jean-Pierre, the Inflation Reduction Act, combined with the COLA for Social Security, was allowing seniors to “get ahead of inflation” due to “a combination of rising benefits and falling premiums.”
For that reason, the White House used the phrase “10 years” and not “40 years,” despite the COLA reaching a 40-year high.
“Usually when we post a tweet, we post it with context,” Jean-Pierre claimed. “And It did not have that context.”
Jean-Pierre was parroting Biden’s remarks from last month.
Biden on Thursday afternoon echoed the sentiment that a Medicare premium reduction would have some impact on retirees’ wallets. “Seniors are gonna get ahead of inflation next year,” Biden said. “For the first time in 10 years, their Social Security checks will go up while their Medicare premiums go down.”
William Arnone, chief executive of the National Academy of Social Insurance, an advocacy organization for Social Security, said the benefit increase is “no cause for celebration,” since it will not help all recipients overcome inflation, especially if prices continue to rise.
Several government indexes show that inflation hits older Americans harder than the rest of the population. After all, retirees live on a fixed income.
The Social Security announcement comes just weeks before the midterm elections, and at a time when Democrats and Republicans are sparring about high prices now and how best to shore up the program financially in the future.
Take a look —
A reporter asks about the White House's now-deleted tweet where they falsely took credit for increased Social Security benefits.
Jean-Pierre: "The tweet was not complete….let's not forget … about MAGA Republicans in Congress and their continued threat." pic.twitter.com/yCRcy5JT4M
— Washington Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) November 2, 2022
Some Twitter users attributed the brutal fact-check to Musk’s influence, but that’s difficult to prove. Under Musk’s leadership, Twitter has hesitated to meddle in politics a week before the midterm elections.
Musk said Wednesday that Twitter will not allow anyone who has been kicked off the site to return until it sets up procedures on how to do that, a process that will take at least a few weeks.
That would mean people banned from the site for violating Twitter’s rules for harassment, violence, or election and COVID-related misinformation will not be able to return before next Tuesday’s U.S. midterm elections.
Musk voted Republican in a special election this year. The tech billionaire has publicly said that he would let former President Donald Trump back on the site, though Trump — who routinely touts his own platform Truth Social — has given no indication as to whether he will return.
Musk said last week he won’t make major decisions about content or restoring banned accounts before setting up a “content moderation council” with diverse viewpoints. He reiterated that point on Wednesday, adding the council he’s assembling will include “the civil rights community and groups who face hate-fueled violence.”
The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article.