It’s Trump vs Twitter! Woah! After some blissful years of togetherness, the bond between the US president and his favorite social media platform is on the rocks! Let’s find out how and why.
Twitter and the White House are taking potshots at each other after the micro-blogging site hid one of Trump’s tweets, alleging it glorified violence.
EXPLAINED: Here’s the Trump vs Twitter issue in 7 points
1. So what happened exactly?
Civil unrest exploded across America after George Floyd, an African-American, was allegedly murdered by a white cop in Minneapolis, Minnesota, early this week. The incident triggered massive protests amid the coronavirus pandemic. Watching the strife escalate, Trump warned of deploying military to take the situation under control. He tweeted, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”.
2. How did the Twitter react?
The Twitter’s moderation team swung into action (of course after consulting their CEO Jack Dorsey). They obscured the president’s tweet and said it violated the social media platform’s rules as it “glorified violence”. But the Twitterati could still check Trump’s infamous tweet by clicking through messages but they could hardly share it.
3. The White House-Twitter face-off
After a few hours, the official twitter account of the White House repeated the same tweet. The Twitter moderators slapped the same regulatory notice this time too. And that’s how the face-off began. Then the White House tweeted again, saying that “The president did not glorify violence. He clearly condemned it. @Jack and Twitter’s biased, bad-faith “fact-checkers” have made it clear: Twitter is a publisher, not a platform.”
The exchange of heated words continued from both sides as netizens witnessed an unprecedented tussle between a US president and his dear social media platform. The president even expressed his willingness to even delete his Twitter account! OMG! This from an avid Twitter user? What an end to an epic journey Mr president!
4. Is Twitter being selective in moderating offensive tweets?
President Trump made two tweets on the Minneapolis issue. In one of his tweets, he called the protesters “thugs”. The White House cited a tweet on encouraging jihad by Khamanei.ir, the Twitter handle of an Iranian leader. It further slammed Twitter, saying the micro-blogging site didn’t ever take action, rather allowed “terrorists, dictators…propagandists abuse its platform”.
All we can say is that we didn’t see such an open raging confrontation between a country head and a social media giant before. Though Trump’s tweet on shooting was clearly offending, we believe that the Twitter moderators should have been equally proactive in obscuring Khamenei’s tweet as well. If you don’t, this clearly can be depicted as an example of having double standards.
5. What is latest development
As per reports, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey approved obscuring of Trump’s tweets. Dorsey, who was known to be quite reluctant about imposing strict regulations about Twitter’s contents, is suddenly cracking down heavily on the US president.
The President did not glorify violence. He clearly condemned it.@Jack and Twitter's biased, bad-faith "fact-checkers" have made it clear: Twitter is a publisher, not a platform. https://t.co/lTm3Pxxaqg
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 29, 2020
Just a day before this spat began, Twitter fact-checked one of the president’s tweets and soon after that called him a “liar”.
The crazy thing about this whole fact-checking Trump thing is that his timeline is full of provably false statements designed to influence elections. Conor Lamb didn't vote for Pelosi as Speaker. This is an easily verifiable lie, but @Twitter @Jack don't enforce their own policy. https://t.co/GqM6eZfRWT
— K. Thor Jensen (@kthorjensen) May 28, 2020
So will this tussle continue in days to come? Well, so it seems from the recent events.
The once hunky dory relationship between Trump and Twitter is gone for sure.
6. What is Trump’s reaction after facing Twitter’s wrath?
The president has already signed an order that aims to curtail the power of social media platforms. Trump apparently wants to make sure that such companies cannot get away with offensive and discriminating user-generated contents. However, Twitter, like other social media companies, enjoys the protection of all legal regulations that the US offers to its private entities.
7. What has Facebook said about the issue?
Well, according to social media experts, Facebook is a more tightly-regulated platform. Its founder Mark Zuckerberg has clarified that it will NOT follow the fact-checking lead pursued by Twitter about contents posted by politicians or world leaders.
We think both Twitter and Trump need each other. Hence, maybe the tussle is temporary. Because as they say, “No Man is an Island”.
Me going on twitter for memes vs me after I see twitter is all trump, lebron and srat girls complaining about chad cheating on them again pic.twitter.com/UiOCbUFIYk
— Brando (@melonchuck) June 15, 2017
We all need to hold onto each other to make way forward. And it is one of those fights that couples often have after years of relationship or marriage. LOL, what’ say?