In meeting with Twitter chief, Trump complains about lost followers
After bot shutdown, Trump and Dorsey discuss “health of public conversation on Twitter.”
SEAN GALLAGHER – 4/24/2019, 12:09 PM
On April 23, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had a meeting in the Oval Office with President Donald Trump. According to an email message to Twitter employees from Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s global lead for legal, policy, and trust and safety, the purpose of the meeting was to discuss “the healthof the public conversation on Twitter.”
In the email thread, first revealed by Motherboard, Dorsey himself explained, “As you know, I believe that conversation, not silence, bridges gaps and drives towards solutions.” Dorsey pointed out that he had met “with every world leader who has extended an invitation to me, and I believe the discussions have been productive, and the outcomes meaningful.” While Dorsey noted that some employees might be less than thrilled with him taking the meeting, “In the end, I believe it’s important to meet heads of state in order to listen, share our principles and our ideas.”
The meeting came just two days after Twitter suspended some 5,000 accounts believed to be “bots” involved in a campaign to boost “#RussiaGate” and other hashtags related to posts critical of the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller—bots that had connections to an accountpreviously used to boost pro-Saudi propaganda.
The Washington Post reports that a significant chunk of the meeting included Trump voicing concerns that Twitter has been suspending, “shadow banning,” or outright removing some of his followers and those of his political allies, according to an unidentified individual “with direct knowledge of the conversation who requested anonymity because it was private.”
In advance of the meeting, Trump lambasted Twitter from his account:
“The best thing ever to happen to Twitter is Donald Trump.” @MariaBartiromo So true, but they don’t treat me well as a Republican. Very discriminatory, hard for people to sign on. Constantly taking people off list. Big complaints from many people. Different names-over 100 M…..82.7K4:26 AM – Apr 23, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy33.6K people are talking about this
…..But should be much higher than that if Twitter wasn’t playing their political games. No wonder Congress wants to get involved – and they should. Must be more, and fairer, companies to get out the WORD!68.9K4:32 AM – Apr 23, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy27.6K people are talking about this
Dorsey emphasized to Trump that Twitter’s efforts to enforce policies on “bot” accounts and community standards may have had an impact on the president’s follower count and that even Dorsey had lost followers in the process, according to the Post.
The meeting was reportedly cordial. After the meeting, Trump tweeted a photo of the event, stating, “Great meeting this afternoon at the @WhiteHouse with @Jack from @Twitter. Lots of subjects discussed regarding their platform, and the world of social media in general. Look forward to keeping an open dialogue!”