When the "leader of the free world" hauled Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey into the White House for a meeting yesterday, you would be forgiven for thinking they'd attempt to address the issues that have bedevilled social media of late – bots, disinformation, unsolicited DMs, Nazis...
But then again, we are living in a timeline where orange reality TV buffoon Donald Trump is president of the United States.
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.— jack (@jack) April 23, 2019
And, according to Reuters, the commander-in-chief was more concerned with the rate at which he was haemorrhaging Twitter followers.
You can just about see the life draining from Dorsey's eyes above as he's taken to task by the head of state.
The chinwag was organised under the guise of "protecting the health of the public conversation" before Americans head to the polls for next year's general election.
However, hours before the meeting, Trump was doing what Trump is wont to do, twanting (tweet-ranting) that the platform is discriminatory towards him and the wider right-of-centre political stance.
“The best thing ever to happen to Twitter is Donald Trump.” @MariaBartiromo So true, but they don’t treat me well as a Republican. Very discriminatory, hard for people to sign on. Constantly taking people off list. Big complaints from many people. Different names-over 100 M.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2019
Indeed, the newswire's source, "who was briefed on the meeting that included Twitter's general counsel and public policy chief", claimed the prez "spent a significant time" questioning Dorsey about where 204,000 of his followers had disappeared in July 2018. Now he has almost 60 million, bringing up the, ahem, rear of fellow reality TV star Kim Kardashian West.
Naturally, the Donald had not considered that perhaps those followers never truly existed in the first place – as that summer month was when Twitter embarked on a purge of bots, fake accounts and propagandists in the wake of widespread concern that the platform had been used to influence voters at the 2016 US election. Which, duh, of course it was.
Still, it's common knowledge that the number of Twitter followers a person amasses is directly proportionate to how cool and well-liked they are so taxpayers will be thrilled to know that Trump really drilled down into the most important questions.
Just in case there was any question whether Twitter is politically biased, public policy director Carlos Monje told the US Senate earlier this month that the platform "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".
But as Google learned with the dissolution of its "AI ethics council" thingy, if people think you're an asshole, they're going to tweet about it. ®