by Steven Overly
President Donald Trump today accused Twitter of reducing the number of users who follow him and suggested the company is slowing down his account’s growth, in his latest attack on internet companies over alleged bias.
“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,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “A few weeks ago it was a Rocket Ship, now it is a Blimp! Total Bias?”
The president didn’t provide evidence to support his claim, and the White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Twitter has been a critical communications channel for Trump. He not only taps the platform to speak directly to his conservative voter base, but also uses it to announce major policy initiatives and to try to shape media coverage.
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Despite his fondness for the medium, Trump has accused Twitter and other social media of being biased against him. His gripes echo claims from Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy that Twitter “shadow bans” conservative leaders, making it harder to find and follow their accounts.
“Our focus is on the health of the service, and that includes work to remove fake accounts to prevent malicious behavior,” Twitter said in a statement. “Many prominent accounts have seen follower counts drop, but the result is higher confidence that the followers they have are real, engaged people.”
Twitter on Thursday reported that its number of monthly active users declined by 9 million from the previous quarter. It’s unclear if those figures contributed to the president’s remark about it being “harder to join.”