President Trump Meets With Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey After Blasting Platform for Bias
President Donald Trump held a face-to-face meeting with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at the White House on Tuesday mere hours after he accused the social media platform of discriminating against conservatives.
"Great meeting this afternoon," Trump said in a tweet about the meeting. "Lots of subjects discussed regarding their platform, and the world of social media in general. Look forward to keeping an open dialogue!"
Great meeting this afternoon at the @WhiteHouse with @Jack from @Twitter. Lots of subjects discussed regarding their platform, and the world of social media in general. Look forward to keeping an open dialogue! pic.twitter.com/QnZi579eFb— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2019
However, earlier in the day, Trump was more critical of the platform. "They don't treat me well as a Republican," he tweeted Tuesday morning. "Very discriminatory, hard for people to sign on. Constantly taking people off list. Big complaints from many people."
“The best thing ever to happen to Twitter is Donald Trump.” @MariaBartiromo So true, but they don’t treat me well as a Republican. Very discriminatory, hard for people to sign on. Constantly taking people off list. Big complaints from many people. Different names-over 100 M.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2019
According to The Washington Post, the President brought the matter up with Dorsey during their meeting, and claimed that Twitter was deliberately removing the followers from both his Twitter account and from accounts belonging to other political conservatives. In response, Dorsey reportedly explained that the company's attempts to stop spammers can reduce the follower counts across the platform.
Last summer, Twitter removed locked accounts from follower counts, which resulted in a drop in followers for many prominent Twitter users, like the president. Trump was also among the conservatives who accused Twitter of "shadow banning" prominent Republicans from popping up in the platform's search bar. However, Twitter denied that any banning ever took place, and attributed the problem to a technical error, which it said affected accounts across the political spectrum.
Earlier in 2018, Twitter's attempts to fight abuse also faced some backlash when conservative pundits complained their Twitter followers had been "purged" in a company crackdown of rule-breaking accounts.
According to a company spokesperson, Twitter's CEO had a "constructive meeting" with Trump, who invited Dorsey to the White House. "They discussed Twitter's commitment to protecting the health of the public conversation ahead of the 2020 US elections and efforts underway to respond to the opioid crisis," the company spokesperson said.
After the meeting, Dorsey also tweeted out to Trump: "Thank you for the time. Twitter is here to serve the entire public conversation, and we intend to make it healthier and more civil. Thanks for the discussion about that."
News of the meeting was first reported by Motherboard, which obtained company emails from Twitter about the closed-door session with Trump. "Some of you will be very supportive of our meeting [with] the president, and some of you might feel we shouldn't take this meeting at all," Dorsey reportedly wrote in the email thread. "In the end, I believe it's important to meet heads of state in order to listen, share our principles and our ideas."
Critics have questioned whether Twitter should take down Trump's account for posting controversial tweets, including veiled threats of nuclear war and repeatedly calling the press the enemy of the people. But the company has said blocking the tweets from a world leader would deny the public important information.