WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday accused Twitter Inc of being biased against him, and said the social media company had deleted many of his followers and made it harder for users to follow him, without providing evidence.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks at a reception commemorating the 35th anniversary of the attack on the Beirut Barracks in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, U.S., October 25, 2018. REUTERS/Al Drago
It was the latest salvo by Trump against social media and technology companies such as Twitter, Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google, which he has accused of silencing conservative views on their services.
“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?” Trump tweeted.
Any reduction is likely the result of Twitter’s recent moves to delete millions of suspicious accounts after it and other social media services were used in misinformation campaigns attempting to influence voters in the 2016 U.S. presidential race and other elections.
“Many prominent accounts have seen follower counts drop, but the result is higher confidence that the followers they have are real, engaged people,” Twitter spokesman Brandon Borrman said on Friday.
Last week Twitter disclosed it had removed some 10 million tweets that it thought were the work of Russian and Iranian government-backed influence operations.
The reduction in users has benefited Twitter financially, as advertisers will pay more to connect with authentic users than automated accounts.
The company smashed Wall Street’s profit forecasts on Thursday, and said its “health” initiative to cull fake accounts will allow it to grow revenue faster over a sustained period.
Shares in Twitter posted their biggest one-day gain in a year on Thursday. They were down slightly on Friday.
Earlier this week, Trump’s re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale in an opinion piece on Breitbart said tech companies such as Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google have become incubators of “far-left liberal ideologies” that are doing “everything they can to eradicate conservative ideas and their proponents from the internet.”
Parscale served as Trump’s digital director for his 2016 White House bid, which made significant use of social media.
Despite such criticism, Trump remains an avid user of Twitter, which has allowed him to communicate directly with people and bypass traditional media outlets.
Trump’s re-election team, however, is planning to circumvent such platforms for his 2020 bid, Politico reported this week, citing four officials involved in the campaign.
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