Trump Complained About His Follower Count to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey - Rolling Stone
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Trump’s Twitter Problem? He Has Less Followers Than Obama

The president met with CEO Jack Dorsey on Tuesday to discuss … why his metrics aren’t better

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the Oval Office of the White House in WashingtonFact Check Week, Washington, USA - 11 Apr 2019President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the Oval Office of the White House in WashingtonFact Check Week, Washington, USA - 11 Apr 2019

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President Trump has just under 60 million Twitter followers. This is a lot. Barack Obama has over 106 million. This is a lot more. The discrepancy is precisely the type of thing that would infuriate the current occupant of the White House and, according to the Daily Beast, it does.

“Trump has repeatedly griped to associates about how Obama has had more Twitter followers than he has,” two people close to Trump told the outlet, “even though — by Trump’s own assessment — he is so much better at Twitter than Obama is.”

So frustrated by his lagging Twitter ratings was Trump that he brought the issue up to CEO Jack Dorsey during a quasi-secretive meeting at the White House on Tuesday. The Washington Post reported that a “significant portion” of the meeting focused on the president’s belief that Twitter has been intentionally stripping him of followers. The Daily Beast similarly reported that Trump spent an “inordinate amount of time complaining about his lost followers.”

Dorsey replied by emphasizing that any decrease in followers is simply the result of the company purging bots and fake accounts.

Hours before the meeting, Trump accused Twitter of discriminating against conservatives, alleging the platform is “playing political games” by making it “hard for people to sign on” and “constantly taking people off the list.”

Republicans, including the president, have long claimed, without real evidence, that social media platforms are deliberately trying to tamp down the reach of right-leaning users. Last year, several prominent conservatives claimed they were being “shadow banned” by Twitter, citing a widely criticized Vice News article. “Twitter ‘SHADOW BANNING’ prominent Republicans,” the president tweeted. “Not good. We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once! Many complaints.” Two days later, Twitter released a post explaining the concept of shadow banning, making clear that they do not do it.

In September, Dorsey was called to testify before Congress about potential discrimination. He again stressed that the platform is not biased against Republicans. “Let me be clear about one important and foundational fact,” he said. “Twitter does not use political ideology to make any decisions, whether related to ranking content on our service or how we enforce our rules.”

Nevertheless, prominent conservatives have continued to cry foul. One of the “many people” filing “big complaints” Trump may have been referring to on Tuesday is his son, Donald Trump, Jr., who has on multiple occasions complained about what he believes to be anti-conservative bias among tech companies. Most of his theories are easily debunked. On Easter, he posted to Instagram about how Google did not animate its homepage for Easter. As Ashley Feinberg of HuffPost pointed out, it did.

It’s unfortunate that Trump’s meeting with Dorsey on Tuesday centered around his insecurity that Obama has over 40 million more followers than he does, as there are plenty of totally valid things the president and the CEO of Twitter could have discussed — for instance, how the platform could be used to influence the 2020 election. In fact, it’s already happening. On Tuesday, NBC News reported that an army of pro-Trump Twitter bots has been enlisted to promote the idea that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is a “Russiagate hoax.”

Then again, it’s unlikely this is something Trump would consider a problem.

In This Article: Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Twitter


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