1/20/21 TrumpWill Be Just Another Twitizen

Bloomberg Businessweek November 16, 2020 pp27-29 |TECHNOLOGY|”Tweeter in Chief No More”. “Donald Trump may find himself treated like an ordinary twitizen and without the special privileges provided to world leaders.” “BOTTOMLINE Trump has pushed the limits of Twitter’s rules as president. He may find himself on a shorter leash once he leaves office.”



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Summary of the article

While campaigning for the 2016 election Trump was leveraging his increasing following on Twitter to message whatever seemed to spontaneously or otherwise enter in his mind. Mr. Trump's primary account @realDonaldTrump will continue after he leaves office but @POTUS will transition to Joe Biden for his term. Some are concerned that Twitter will experience an attenuation but 81% of twitter users are not American and while Twitter did see a remarkable boost in Q1 2017 gains evened out and recently have been tied more closely to COVID. Twitter employees and executives believe that “people flock to Twitter [for] key drivers such as the Olympics or the World Cup.” According to Mark Shmulik (Analyst at Sanford C. Berstein) “Twitter may see some initial softness, but I believe they’ve outgrown any Trump dependency…I just suspect he’s [Trump] keeping the seat warm for the next colorful politician to take his place…He’s certainly laid out a playbook for how to use Twitter, and certainly others will try to follow.” Notable as well, Trump was the top Twitter politician in 2019 but following close behind were Barack Obama (2), AOC (4), Bernie Sanders (6), Hillary (7) and Biden (8).


Besides losing @POTUS, Trump will no longer benefit on @realDonaldTrump from Twitter policies, dubbed “newsworthiness’, afforded to elected officials aimed at ensuring free speech and avoiding bias for any particular political party. Being President, Trump leveraged this privilege posting close-to-line of acceptability and sometimes over-the-line for example calling out on “September 2017, Trump called Kim ‘Little Rocket Man’ and wrote that North Korea ‘won’t be around much longer’.” At first Twitter seem to let such Tweet slide for Trump but later, recognizing the potential for incitement of violence or absolute false nature of some tweets, developed a policy that now keeps such posts up but “now hides such tweets behind an ‘interstitial’, forcing users to click to read, and blocks users from liking and commenting on the tweets. But it doesn’t take the tweets down, which would be standard for most other users.” Once out of office, Trump tweets violating ordinary person policy could result in “account freezes, suspensions, or even a ban for @realDonaldTrump.

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