September 27, 2022

Trump just met with the CEO of Twitter and made a supremely embarrassing demand

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If paranoia is an occupational hazard for anyone with something to hide, President Trump must still have plenty under wraps.


Today we learned that the president’s paranoia extends even into the cyber realm after details of his private White House meeting with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey leaked to the media.

Always ready to latch onto the most outlandish conspiracy theory that supports his twisted world view, Trump has adopted wholesale the baseless accusations that conservative voices are being repressed on social media by left-wing Silicon Valley techies who work at the biggest platforms — now claiming that Twitter has removed some of his followers and limited the ability of others to follow him.

According to an account of the meeting in The Washington Post, Trump spent much of the meeting with Dorsey complaining about exactly that.

“A significant portion of the meeting focused on Trump’s concerns that Twitter quietly, and deliberately, has limited or removed some of his followers,” the Post writes, relaying the account of a person with direct knowledge of the conversation who requested anonymity due to the private nature of the meeting.

The truth, as Twitter has explained repeatedly, is that Trump’s follower loss comes from platform-wide purges of fraudulent spam accounts and bots.

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Nevertheless, Trump fumed at the company that continues to provide him his favorite platform for tantrums and stream of conscious deceit, presaging his conversation in a pair of early morning tweets that accused the social media platform of “playing political games.”

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While tech CEOs are generally notoriously impatient when trying to explain the technical details behind their businesses to even the smartest laypeople without experience in their industry, Dorsey was forced to patiently explain that with Twitter’s attempts at removing the sort of automated bots that helped Russia spread a huge amount of disinformation — a political influence campaign that helped Trump win the 2016 election — even the Twitter CEO himself had lost followers.

Dorsey has long insisted that his platform is politically neutral and unbiased in its content policies.

“Impartiality is our guiding principle,” the CEO testified in front of Congress last year when GOP representatives made similar accusations to Trump’s.

Perhaps the supposedly stifled conservative voices that Trump is so concerned about have been the victims of the heightened scrutiny being employed by social media giants like Twitter and Facebook to quickly remove hate speech from their platforms in the wake of incidents of mass violence sparked by the dissemination of messages of bigotry and violence such as the New Zealand mosque massacre.

In a statement after the meeting — which was held at Trump’s request despite the opposition of many lower-level Twitter employees — the company said that the meeting focused on “protecting the health of the public conversation ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections and efforts underway to respond to the opioid crisis.”

Judging from the difference in tone between the president’s pre-meeting tweets and his post after the conversation with Dorsey, the Twitter CEO at least managed to address Trump’s worst fears.

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While it’s not known if Dorsey raised the topic of the hateful content of President Trump’s own tweets, in the past the CEO has stated that it applies a separate set of standards for prominent public figures, since even their most offensive comments are worth posting in the public interest.

Twitter has announced that it will soon augment that policy by labeling offensive tweets from public figures so the public understands why they haven’t been scrubbed from the site. Once that starts happening, we can expect that Dorsey will be summoned for another presidential tutoring session in short order.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.

Original reporting by Tony Romm at The Washington Post.

Vinnie Longobardo

is the Managing Editor of Washington Press and a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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