04:14 GMT26 October 2020
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    Tension between Twitter and Trump has been high recently, after the platform flagged some of the president’s tweets as “potentially misleading” and “glorifying violence”, placing “fact-check” and “public interest” notes. Trump claimed Twitter is controlled by “the Radical left”, and accused the company of trying to “interfere” in the 2020 vote.

    US President Donald Trump on Monday criticized the “Trending” section on Twitter as “ridiculous”, “illegal”, and “very unfair”, suggesting that the platform only displays bad trends about him.

    The president claimed that Twitter users look for “anything” about him, to “make it as bad as possible” and then work to make the anti-Trump post trend online.

    “So disgusting to watch Twitter’s so-called ‘Trending’, where sooo many trends are about me, and never a good one,” Trump tweeted. “They look for anything they can find, make it as bad as possible, and blow it up, trying to make it trend. Really ridiculous, illegal, and, of course, very unfair!”

    Netizens responded to Trump’s tweet, with some patiently explaining that the 'Trending' section on Twitter, as well as on social media websites, depends purely one “how frequently something is tweeted”.

    “Twitter has algorithms that rank trends based on how frequently something is tweeted. This is a reflection of how much people hate you—nothing else!”, a user offered. “I guess it’s now ‘illegal,’ for tech companies to use algorithms. I guess that makes the Trump campaign’s internet operation illegal too then, right?”

    Another user, who also detailed how the trending algorithm works, noted that it seems like Twitterians love to talk about “how much Trump” and “how he is destroying our country”, calling on Trump to “deal with it” as “it’s the truth”.

    Another promised Trump that all trends about him would be “very good” if he resigns from office, arguing that “the joy your resignation would bring worldwide is immeasurable”.

    The recent months have seen an escalation of tension between Trump and Twitter in the wake of the platform flagging a 26 May Trump tweet about mail-in ballots as “potentially misleading” and placing a “fact-check” note on the post. The president responded by claiming that the social media platform was attempting to “silence conservatives’ voices” and vowed to take action to “close them down”.

    On 28 May, Trump signed an executive order calling for a series of legislative and legal actions to prevent social media platforms from policing user content.

    One day later, Twitter flagged another Trump tweet as “glorifying violence” after the president described protesters in Minneapolis, where an African-American man, George Floyd was killed by white police officers, as “THUGS” in the wake of protests turning into riots. Trump tweeted: “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”, a notorious phrase initially pronounced in 1967 by former Miami Police Chief Walter E. Headley in response to an outbreak of violent crime.

    In another development, since mid-June, typing the word “racist” in Twitter’s people search has reportedly yielded Trump as the first result. Greg Sterling, a contributing editor at the website Search Engine Land, explained in a statement to AFP that the Twitter search result may indicate that “so many people are using the words 'racist' or 'racism' to respond to or describe Donald Trump, or there's a concerted effort to associate Trump's account with those terms”.

    On 18 June, Twitter flagged another Trump tweet as “manipulated media”, labeling a post in which Trump shared an edited CNN video with two toddlers - one black and one white - running on the street, with ominous background music and a CNN-like caption saying “terrified todler [sic] runs from racist baby.” 

    As part of the developments in the Trump-Twitter tensions, the platform has additionally placed a “public interest” notice on a Trump post in which he vowed to use “serious force” against protesters in Washington DC in case an “Autonomous Zone” was attempted in the capital.


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