President Trump called out Twitter — seemingly his favorite social media platform — on Friday morning, accusing the company of removing “many people” from his followers list.
“Twitter has removed many people from my account and, more importantly, they have seemingly done something that makes it much harder to join – they have stifled growth to a point where it is obvious to all,” tweeted the president.
“A few weeks ago it was a Rocket Ship, now it is a Blimp! Total Bias?”
Twitter has removed many people from my account and, more importantly, they have seemingly done something that makes it much harder to join – they have stifled growth to a point where it is obvious to all. A few weeks ago it was a Rocket Ship, now it is a Blimp! Total Bias?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 26, 2018
Twitter, at least from a business standpoint, appears to have contradicted the president; Twitter shares increased 15 percent on Thursday, after the company posted Q3 earnings that surpassed analyst estimates.
As for his first claim, Twitter has started cracking down on bot accounts this year — impacting its user base. The company lost 9 million monthly users during the third quarter, although it said daily active users increased 9 percent from the previous year. Back in July, Twitter removed “locked” accounts and warned some users may see a “significant drop” in followers.
President Trump’s account appears to have lost around 300,000 followers since then. (He has 55.3 million followers on Friday.) But other politicians have seen a more noticeable decline in recent months: Barack Obama, for instance, has lost about 3 million followers.
Twitter chief Jack Dorsey told Congress last month the company doesn’t target conservative voices. “Impartiality is our guiding principle,” Dorsey said at the time.
Twitter did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the president’s tweet. Dorsey retweeted a message from the Twitter communications account on Friday, saying the company was focused on removing “fake accounts to prevent malicious behavior.”
Our focus is on the health of the service, and that includes work to remove fake accounts to prevent malicious behavior. Many prominent accounts have seen follower counts drop, but the result is higher confidence that the followers they have are real, engaged people.
— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) October 26, 2018
Twitter did delete 18 accounts tied to Alex Jones and Infowars earlier this week — someone Trump has praised in the past. The company had permanently suspended the digital conspiracy theorist last month for “abusive behavior,” but he had been circumventing the ban by broadcasting on different Twitter accounts. Trump said Jones had an “amazing” reputation back in 2015.