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Trump Meets Twitter’s Dorsey After Fuming Over ‘Political Games’

Justin Sink
Trump Meets Twitter’s Dorsey After Fuming Over ‘Political Games’

(Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey met with Donald Trump at the White House Tuesday, the same day the president tweeted that Congress should “get involved” in a battle against “discriminatory” practices by the social media company.

Trump tweeted that he had a “great meeting” with Dorsey and that he wants to keep an “open dialogue” with the tech executive.

“Thank you for the time,” Dorsey said in a tweeted response. “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.”

In a series of tweets earlier in the day, Trump said it was “so true” that he was the best thing to happen to the company, but that Twitter doesn’t “treat me well as a Republican.”

The president complained that his follower count would be “much higher” if Twitter “wasn’t playing their political games.”

“No wonder Congress wants to get involved - and they should,” he said.

As of Tuesday morning, Trump had 59.9 million Twitter followers, making him the 13th most-tracked user on the social media network behind individuals including former President Barack Obama and singers Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. But the president has repeatedly voiced his displeasure with an effort by Twitter last year to remove tens of millions of suspicious accounts, with the company saying it was trying to help combat manipulative and abusive content by deleting fake profiles.

The president lost hundreds of thousands of followers in the purge, but so did many of the company’s most-visible users, including Dorsey, who said he lost about 200,000 followers as part of the initiative.

“Jack had a constructive meeting with the president of the United States today at the president’s invitation,” a Twitter representative said. “They discussed Twitter’s commitment to protecting the health of the public conversation ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections and efforts underway to respond to the opioid crisis.”

Dorsey told lawmakers last September that the company wasn’t biased and that there were technical explanations for each example that Republicans had raised to press their case of political bias. And Twitter said Tuesday that about 38 percent of abusive content is now being found through technology and flagged for human review, up from none last year.

“We are taking a more proactive approach to reducing abuse and its effects on Twitter,” Dorsey said Tuesday in a statement. “We are reducing the burden on victims and, where possible, taking action before abuse is reported."

The meeting between Trump and Dorsey was reported earlier by Motherboard.

Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, produces TicToc, a global breaking-news service for Twitter.

(Updates with Dorsey tweet, in third paragraph.)

--With assistance from Naomi Nix, Selina Wang and Alyza Sebenius.

To contact the reporter on this story: Justin Sink in Washington at jsink1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at awayne3@bloomberg.net, Joshua Gallu, John Harney

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.