A new study says that Trump’s social media platform is much more aggressive and arbitrary in moderating content than other platforms.
September 22, 2022
resident Trump’s tweets are known to spark outrage, and that’s just what his social media platform does too according to a new study released this week by the Washington Post.
The study compares Trump’s Twitter account with those of other major American politicians and found that it was much more aggressive in deleting content from his feed than other platforms, such as Facebook or YouTube. While the average political account deletes just under 2% of its content due to moderation, Trump’s Twitter account deletes nearly 13% of its content.
This week, Social Media analytics company Quintly published a study comparing the moderation strategies of Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Donald Trump’s own Truth Social.
The point of the study was to find out how each platform approaches censorship differently- with some surprising results. For example, over ten thousand posts on Reddit were taken down by moderators last year- while Facebook did not remove a single post all year long.
How the study was conducted?
The researchers found that three-quarters of the posts on Donald Trump’s official Facebook page were not based on any known mainstream news sources, a significant difference from posts by major U.S. newspapers, large international news sources, or a popular polling company, according to the Harvard University report published Monday in peer-reviewed journal Nieman Reports.
The report comes as Facebook, Twitter, and Google face criticism over their power to shape information flow — which may have influenced last year’s election outcome — and filter out some voices while amplifying others. President Donald Trump has accused biased, mainstream reporters of writing fake news after many major U.S. newspapers opposed his candidacy for president last year during his run for office.
But researchers found that on his official Facebook page he routinely references polling by Rasmussen Reports or puts out posts based on stories from conservative online sources such as Breitbart News or Gateway Pundit, as well as conspiracy theories from Info Wars (of which Breitbart was once a part). Researchers compared the sources of 1,014 posts shared by Mr.
Who Trump blocks
The people Trump has blocked have included public figures, his former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, not to mention several celebrities like Cher. But the list also includes people who had never met him or even been to his property before like ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US senator for Washington Maria Cantwell.
Blair tweeted in January 2017, How low does President Trump have to go before an American conscience drags him from office? and then after being blocked by the president he added these tweets did not provoke this response.
Who Trump doesn’t block
So, we are all anxiously waiting to see what will happen when a day goes by without a single tweet coming from President Trump. But it’s important to remember, as our nation learns how to rely on Donald Trump’s 140-character or fewer bursts of misinformation,
that there are some people the president will never block on his Twitter account: His family members and his staffers who help manage his account. Here’s the list of the top 12 (at least): Donald Jr., Eric, Tiffany, Ivanka, Jared Kushner, Kellyanne Conway, and Peter Thiel – doesn’t he have better things to do? – Brad Parscale.
He’s got to be up to something, I mean, who names their kid Brad? Steve Bannon – ugh, him – Dan Scavino. We can only guess why Eric and Donald Jr. made it on here – maybe because they don’t tweet too often? Or maybe because their tweets are self-referential enough to not require an outsider’s input? I guess we’ll never know! What a great list! Such diversity of thought!
What can we learn from this?
The study also revealed the different roles played by Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram in serving as a news feed. It’s easy to see why Facebook would be the go-to site for this function; it’s where many people first heard about what was happening in Charlottesville—even if they didn’t know anything about white supremacy or alt-right ideology beforehand.
And when Facebook changes its algorithms without warning so your posts can no longer reach your followers, it feels like an odd form of censorship because there are so few alternative places to post them: Twitter? Reddit? Instagram? The rapid transformation of such public arenas is troubling, both for everyday users on the site also for companies trying to effectively market their products while staying ahead of their rivals.
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