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article imageOp-Ed: Trump claims Twitter is suppressing his follower count

By Ken Hanly     Oct 28, 2018 in Internet
Washington - Donald Trump is again claiming without evidence that Twitter is suppressing his follower count due to their political bias. Apparently he made the claim after watching a Fox Business report on Twitter earnings.
Trump's complaint
Trump tweeted: “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?”
As mentioned Trump made the complaint after watching his favorite TV channel Fox News. As Matthew Gertz of Media Matters pointed out Fox Business discussed Twitter's earnings report which showed that Twitter lost 9 million accounts last quarter which followed a loss of one million the quarter before.Twitter explains these losses due to a mass deletion of automated and spam accounts. It has been overcounting for years and is now attempting to correct the matter.
Twitter is removing fake accounts and trying to stop malicious behavior
A Twitter spokesperson told The Verge that “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 is harder to join
Since June Twitter has asked new users to confirm either an email address or a phone number. According to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey this is a measure to reduce spam accounts. This is not that much of a burden for most people. This happened months ago along with the purging of many accounts.
Trump's followers' count is actually growing
Given the huge purging of accounts it would not be surprising if Trump's followers numbers were declining. Many prominent persons have found their follower numbers declining due to the purge. A decline in itself would not show bias. However in Trump's case Washington Post journalist Brian Fung checked and found that far from losing many people Trump's followers had increased over the course of this month.
Trump is wrong about Twitter changing from a rocket ship to a blimp
The earnings report on Fox is actually quite positive. Far from becoming a blimp now and a rocket ship before, this is the first year that Twitter has turned a profit. A recent Digital Journal article notes: "Twitter reported Thursday stronger-than-expected profits and revenues in the third quarter, igniting a strong rally in shares of the key social network. The San Francisco group delivered a $789 million profit, including one-time gains, compared to a net loss of $21 million in the previous year, as revenues grew 29 percent to $758 million." So in spite of losing so many accounts the firm is doing fine and much better than last year.
There are signs that Twitter filters show bias
Trump has before accused Twitter and other sites of mass-deleting real conservatives user's accounts as well as suppressing his follower count. There have been complaints about Twitter and other sites such as Facebook as filtering out conservative accounts. However, it seems that the bias is towards any strong anti-establishment view left or right. As discussed in a recent Digital Journal article some of those chosen to help filter out fake news such as the Atlantic Council are hardly neutral. As the appended video shows not just Twitter but Facebook also has been accused of bias in filtering out news posts. So behind the bravado boasting and downright lying, Trump's complaints do have a germ of truth, although he provides no evidence of personally being censored by Twitter or Facebook. In fact Twitter is one of Trump's favorite means of communication.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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