President Trump meets with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to discuss perceived anti-conservative bias

Apr 24, 2019, 2:49 PM
President Donald Trump and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey...
President Donald Trump, left, met with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey yesterday to discuss a perceived anti-conservative bias on the website. (Left photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci; Right photo: AP Photo/Richard Drew)
(Left photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci; Right photo: AP Photo/Richard Drew)

President Donald Trump met with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey yesterday, where, according to an anonymous source to the Washington Post, the President asked why he was losing followers.

News of the meeting first leaked yesterday morning, when Vice News’s Motherboard leaked an internal e-mail from Dorsey disclosing his meeting with the President. The meeting was later confirmed by Trump himself on Twitter.

Is Twitter anti-conservative?

The president’s diminishing follower count was only was a minor point in a grander conversation. Trump’s main concern, based on the Post’s source’s claims, was what he believes is an anti-conservative bias in the social media giant’s policies.

It’s a concern the President has expressed before:

It’s also a concern that has entered mass public conversation ever since Twitter cracked down on hate speech in December, leading to a mass banning of alt-right accounts using hateful images like the Nazi swastika.

While few would defend Nazis, the campaign sparked controversy when Twitter banned former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos. Yiannopoulos publicly protested his ban, accusing Twitter of deliberately censoring his conservative views.

There’s little hard evidence, however, that Twitter actually banned Yiannopoulos for his political leanings. Instead, Twitter has stated that he was banned for encouraging his followers to harass African-American actress Leslie Jones, resulting in messages like this one comparing her to an ape:

Still, the accusations against Twitter have continued, including from the president himself.

Trump’s declining followers

Trump brought up his declining follower count in the meeting as an example of Twitter’s alleged anti-conservative bias. His lost followers, according to the Washington Post’s source, took up “a significant portion of the meeting.”

Dorsey reportedly told the president that he had lost followers because Twitter had been cracking down on fraudulent spam accounts, many of which follow public figures for an air of legitimacy.

One particularly high-profile recent crackdown likely played a role in that drop. Earlier this week, Twitter announced that it had banned more than 5,000 bot accounts that had been spamming the site with pro-Trump comments and claims that the Mueller Report was a hoax.

There is no evidence suggesting that either the president or the Russian government were behind those accounts; instead, they appear to be linked to a social media operation that has previously pushed propaganda for the government of Saudia Arabia.

Still, crackdowns like that one are sure to affect the president’s follower count. This, Dorsey told the president, was the only reason he was seeing a drop.

Dorsey has consistently denied any anti-conservative bias, and has, in fact, instituted a policy never to block or delete any tweet from the president or any other world leader.

“We believe strongly in being impartial, and we strive to enforce our rules impartially,” he told a Congressional hearing on Sept. 5, 2018. “There is no statistically significant difference between the number of times a Tweet by a Democrat is viewed versus a Tweet by a Republican.”

Trump, for his part, seems to be satisfied with the results of the meeting.

“Great meeting this afternoon,” Trump tweeted afterward. “Look forward to keeping an open dialogue!”

More to the story

KSL Newsradio’s Todd Fooks and Andrew Hull discussed this story while filling in for Dave & Dujanovic.

The real issue, Fooks argued, is that people are just too quick to offended and start demanding that anything that upsets them gets taken down.

If you missed them live on the air, you can still catch what they had to say on the Dave & Dujanovic podcast.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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President Trump meets with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to discuss perceived anti-conservative bias