WASHINGTON US President Donald Trump met with Twitter Inc’s chief executive Jack Dorsey on Tuesday (April 23) and spent a significant time questioning him about why he has lost some Twitter followers, a person briefed on the matter said.
The meeting, which was organized by the White House last week, came hours after Trump again attacked the social media company over his claims it is biased against conservatives.
“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!” Mr Trump tweeted, posting a photo of Mr Dorsey and others with him in the Oval Office.
Mr Dorsey, who had not previously met with Mr Trump, replied in a tweet: 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.
The source, who was briefed on the meeting that included Twitters general counsel and public policy chief, said Mr Dorsey explained in response to Mr Trumps concerns about losing followers that the company was working to remove fraudulent and spam accounts and that many famous people, including Mr Dorsey himself, had lost followers as a result.
Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Trump suggested Twitter was biased against him without providing evidence. He wrote on Twitter that the company does not “treat me well as a Republican. Very discriminatory.”
Twitter said in a statement Mr Dorsey had a “constructive meeting with the president of the United States today at the president’s invitation. 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.”
Unlike other major US tech company executives, Mr Dorsey had not previously met with Mr Trump.
He was not invited to a December 2016 meeting with president-elect Mr Trump that featured other major tech companies.
Reuters reported in 2016 Mr Trump had been angry with Twitter because it had rejected an advertising deal with his campaign.
Mr Trump has been upset about losing followers.
In October, Mr Trump wrote that “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?”
Any reduction is likely the result of Twitter’s recent moves to remove millions of suspicious accounts after it and other social media services were used in misinformation campaigns attempting to influence voters in the 2016 US presidential race and other elections, Reuters reported in October.
Shares in Twitter jumped 13 per cent on Tuesday after it reported quarterly revenue above analyst estimates, which executives said was the result of weeding out spam and abusive posts and targeting ads better.
Mr Trump lost 204,000, or 0.4 per cent, of his 53.4 million followers in July when Twitter started its purge of suspicious accounts, according to social media data firm Keyhole.
Mr Trump has one of the most-followed accounts on Twitter. But the president and Republicans in Congress have repeatedly criticized the company and its social media competitors for what they have called bias against conservatives, something Twitter denies.
Democratic US Senator Mazie Hirono said earlier this month”we cannot allow the Republican party to harass tech companies into weakening content moderation policies that already fail to remove hateful, dangerous and misleading content.”
Mr Carlos Monje, Twitter’s public policy director, said at a Senate hearing earlier this month the site “does not use political viewpoints, perspectives or party affiliation to make any decisions, whether related to automatically ranking content on our service or how we develop or enforce our rules.”
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