Better Than a Direct Message: Trump Meets Twitter CEO


U.S. President Donald Trump met Tuesday with the top executive of Twitter, just hours after complaining the social media platform treats him unfairly.

Trump, shortly after the Oval Office meeting ended with Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey, tweeted a photo of the discussion and expressed a more positive tone from his tweeted Tuesday morning complaints.

The president called it a “great meeting,” saying they discussed lots of subjects regarding the platform and social media in general.

“Look forward to keeping an open dialogue!” the @realDonaldTrump tweet concluded.

Dorsey tweeted later Tuesday, “Thank you for the time. Twitter is here to serve the entire public conversation, and we intend to make it healthier and more civil. Thanks for the discussion about that.”

Trump, as president-elect, met with executives of top technology companies in December 2016, but no one from Twitter was invited.

Tuesday’s meeting between Trump and Dorsey was at the invitation of the president, according to Twitter.

“They discussed Twitter’s commitment to protecting the health of the public conversation ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections and efforts underway to respond to the opioid crisis,” said a Twitter spokesperson.

Hours earlier, Trump, who has nearly 60 million followers on his personal account, complained in a pair of tweets that he would have a lot more except for what he claims are deliberate efforts by the company to thwart a larger online fan base.

Trump noted others have more than 100 million followers (an apparent reference to his predecessor, Barack Obama, who ranks behind only pop singers Katy Perry and Justin Bieber).

“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,” the president said in his online complaint.

Conservatives complain they are being “shadow banned,” accusing Twitter of hiding their posts from other users.

Social media analysts say there is no evidence the company is deliberately engaging in such actions.

Twitter and other social media sites were used in disinformation campaigns targeting the 2016 U.S. elections as well as votes in other countries. The company has been purging spam accounts and fraudulent users, which can explain how people might see their number of followers drop.

Trump’s personal account (there is also an official @POTUS account) sometimes issues dozens of tweets a day, most believed to be written personally by the president.

Trump has acknowledged a preference for the platform to bypass the mainstream media and has expressed delight at his ability to make reporters rely on his tweets for policy announcements.

As president, Trump uses Twitter as a frequent bully pulpit, criticizing political rivals, the media and detractors, as well as to issue warnings and threats to foreign countries, ranging from traditional American allies, including northern neighbor Canada, to longtime adversaries, such as Iran and North Korea.










VOA News

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