Donald Trump on social media

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Donald Trump's use of social media has attracted attention worldwide since Trump joined Twitter in March 2009. He has frequently used Twitter to comment on politicians and celebrities, and he relied on Twitter significantly to communicate during the 2016 United States presidential election. The attention on Trump's Twitter activity has significantly increased since he was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.


Before his election Donald Trump was projected to become the first "social media president" by CNN. In comparison, Franklin D. Roosevelt can be described as the first "radio president", John F. Kennedy as the first "television president", and Barack Obama as the first "internet president", although the Bush administration developed an impressive design for the official White House website, prior to Obama's arrival. Each of these presidents had a tremendous impact by spreading their message through new media channels.[1]

Social media also was an important part of Trump's presidential election campaign in 2016, and was one of the reasons he was ultimately elected.[2][3] In 2016, his Twitter following exceeded that of his Republican rivals and approached that of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Trump personally manages his Twitter presence, either dictating messages to his assistant or typing them out himself.[4] Trump claimed before his inauguration that he would scale back his usage of social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. He also stated that social media made it possible to win the elections with less money spent.[5]


Donald Trump has a social media audience of over 45 million people in the United States.[6], including 31 million followers in Twitter, 20.4 million followers in Facebook and 5.6 million followers in Instagram.[2] Additionally, he has used social media to 'sideline mainstream media'. This has dramatically shifted the way the president communicates with the public.[6] Donald Trump has addressed people as individuals through social media, when compared to Barack Obama who mobilized his supporters en masse. Trump's tweets are spontaneous, unfiltered and reveal his emotions.[7]

Twitter account

Donald Trump used his Twitter account (@realDonaldTrump) heavily during his election campaign in 2016. Upon his inauguration, control of the official U.S. Presidential Twitter account (@POTUS), which had been created by Barack Obama, passed to Trump. His first tweets as president were made from his personal account, but he has made use of both accounts.[8] Trump has often used Twitter to deliver barbed commentary concerning his political opponents.[9]

This use of Twitter risks potential legal complications. The courts hearing legal challenges to Executive Order 13769, the "travel ban", considered his communications when addressing the motivations of the order.[10] A tweet suggesting that tapes of his conversations with James Comey may exist was viewed by some lawyers as potential witness tampering.[10] Additionally, Trump sometimes deletes his tweets, which could complicate adherence to the Presidential Records Act.[11]


Many of Trump's Twitter followers are likely fake accounts known as bots, set up to automatically like and retweet messages in order to create the appearance of significant support or popularity, and to get hashtags trending. Prior to the election, 8 percent of his 7.58 million followers were suspected bots.[12][13] In January 2017, Trump had 20 million followers, and an audit by a journalist showed that 32 percent were fake. In May 2017, his followers had jumped to 30 million followers, but only about half are legitimate accounts. By comparison, an analysis shows that 21 percent of Barack Obama's 89 million Twitter followers were bots.[12]

However, a Twitter spokesman denied the claim that there are that many fake accounts on the service.[13]

Trump Tower wiretapping allegations

Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!

President Donald Trump (in the first of four tweets that claimed that former President Barack Obama tapped the phones in Trump Tower), Twitter[lower-alpha 1]

In a succession of tweets on March 4,[14][lower-alpha 1] President Donald Trump stated he had "just found out" that former president Barack Obama had wiretapped the phones in his offices at Trump Tower during the last months of the 2016 election. The tweets resulted into a weeks long media attention given to the allegations, despite scarce evidence. Fake news websites did also take up the allegations, and one even claimed that a warrant for Barack Obama's arrest had been given.[14][15] He did not say where he had obtained the information and offered no evidence to support it.[16] Trump compared the alleged intrusion to McCarthyism and Watergate. Anonymous White House officials told The Washington Post that Trump did not appear to coordinate his comments with other White House officials.[15]

Into April and May there was no further evidence forthcoming on the claims. When questioned about the issue in an interview on April 30, Trump was evasive when asked about his relationship with former president Obama. He said 'I don't stand by anything' and he thought 'our side has been proven very strongly, and everybody's talking about it'.[17]

Russian influence investigation

On May 18, 2017, Trump tweeted, with regard to the nomination of Robert Mueller as a special prosecutor to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, "This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"[18]


On May 31, 2017, Trump sent out a tweet that included the word "covfefe".[19] It immediately went viral, becoming a meme and a source of widespread jokes.[20] The tweet was liked and retweeted over a hundred thousand times, making it one of the most popular tweets of 2017 to that date, as people speculated on the meaning of "covfefe".[21] About five hours later, Trump deleted it and sent out another one, asking people what they thought "covfefe" could mean.[21] Fox News reviewed the history of Trump's spelling and grammar errors, including his 2016 use of "unpresidented",[22] which had been mockingly declared as "word of the year" by The Guardian.[23]

Off camera, at a press briefing later the same day, Sean Spicer responded to questions about the tweet that "the president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant." No further explanation was given during the briefing.[24] Some reporters, observing that Spicer did not appear to be joking, were concerned by the implications. Conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg, writing for the National Review, considered it unlikely that "covfefe" is "some esoteric code word", suggesting instead that "Spicer feels compelled to protect the myth of Trumpian infallibility at all costs".[25] The Atlantic's Megan Garber felt that Spicer's response further divided the White House from the public by giving a likely typo "the whiff of conspiracy."[26] At The Washington Post, Callum Borchers instead argued that the deliberately obscure response was an intentional tactic to distract the media and public from the administration's other controversies.[27]

Other accounts



In 2016, Trump contributed to the controversy regarding the Ghostbusters film by posting a video to Instagram, criticizing the all-female cast. In response, director Paul Feig suggested that "Trump supporters" were responsible for some of the internet hate directed at the film.[28]


From 2011 until 2013 or 2014, Trump created over 80 installments of a vlog on YouTube called "From the Desk of Donald Trump".[lower-alpha 2] In it, he discussed a variety of topics, ranging from serious issues such as the Libyan Civil War, Obamacare, and the American job market to less weighty matters, including the Vanity Fair Oscar party and his dislike of Mike McGlone's Rhetorical Questions advertisements for GEICO.[29][30] In several installments, he speculated on a possible presidential candidacy in 2012 that never came to pass,[29] but many of the themes featured in the vlog were part of his successful campaign in 2016.[30] Viewership of "From the Desk of Donald Trump" was much lower than for his later social media activity, with only thousands to tens of thousands of views on YouTube.[29] By June 2017, most of these videos were no longer available on YouTube under Trump's account.[31]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 The original tweets, in chronological order, are:
  2. Cody Johnston reports that there were 96 installments from 2011 to 2014, including one duplicate.[29] Olivia Nuzzi described the series as only running until 2013, with 83 installments.[30]


  1. Jones, Van. "Trump: The social media president?". CNN. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "How Donald Trump Used SOCIAL MEDIA to Become the 45th President of the U.S.". SerpLogic. February 24, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  3. Ingram, Mathew. "Here's Why Facebook Is Partly to Blame for the Rise of Donald Trump". Fortune. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  4. Barbaro, Michael (Oct 5, 2015). "Pithy, Mean and Powerful: How Donald Trump Mastered Twitter for 2016". The New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2017. 
  5. McCormick, Rich (November 13, 2016). "Donald Trump says Facebook and Twitter 'helped him win'". The Verge. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Media (January 23, 2017). "Donald Trump's Social Media Use Is Key To Sidelining The Press". The Federalist. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  7. Bickart, Barbara; Fournier, Susan; Nisenholtz, Martin (March 1, 2017). "What Trump Understands About Using Social Media to Drive Attention". Harvard Business Review. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  8. Collins, Terry (January 20, 2017). "First Trump administration tweets come from @realDonaldTrump". CNET. Retrieved June 1, 2017. 
  9. Hess, Amanda (February 18, 2016). "How Trump Wins Twitter". Slate. Retrieved June 1, 2017. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Baker, Peter; Thrushmay, Glenn (May 31, 2017). "Less Tweeting, Lawyers Beg. ‘Covfefe,’ the President Says.". The New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2017. 
  11. Griffin, Andrew (Jun 1, 2017). "Donald Trump finally deletes 'covfefe' tweet five hours after posting it". The Independent. Retrieved June 1, 2017. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Almost half of Trump's Twitter followers appear to be fake". Newsweek. May 30, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Johnson, Tim; Gordon, Greg (May 31, 2017). "Trump suddenly gets millions of new Twitter followers – or does he?". McClatchy DC. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 "A timeline of Donald Trump's false wiretapping charge". Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Rucker, Phillip; Nakashima, Ellen; Costa, Robert (March 4, 2017). "Trump, citing no evidence, accuses Obama of 'Nixon/Watergate' plot to wiretap Trump Tower". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 8, 2017. 
  16. Graves, Allison (March 5, 2017). "Why the White House defense of Trump wiretap accusation is misleading". 
  17. Graham, Renee (May 1, 2017). "OK, then, Mr. President, I'll just see myself out". The Boston Globe. 
  18. "The Trump Tweet Tracker". The Atlantic. May 18, 2017. Retrieved June 1, 2017. 
  19. Wehner, Mike (May 31, 2017). "The internet is losing its mind over Donald Trump's 'covfefe' tweet". Boy Genius Report. Retrieved Jun 1, 2017. 
  20. Hunt, Elle (May 31, 2017). "What is covfefe? Donald Trump baffles with late night Twitter post". The Guardian. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 Andrews, Travis M. (May 31, 2017). "Trump targets 'negative press covfefe' in garbled midnight tweet that becomes worldwide joke". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on May 31, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  22. "Trump's Twitter typos: From 'covfefe' to 'unpresidented'". Fox News. May 31, 2017. Retrieved June 1, 2017. 
  23. Gabbatt, Adam (December 19, 2016). "'Unpresidented': Donald Trump invents the Guardian's word of the year". The Guardian. Retrieved June 1, 2017. 
  24. Smith, Allen (May 31, 2017). "Sean Spicer addresses 'covfefe' kerfuffle: Trump 'and a small group of people know exactly what he meant'". Business Insider. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  25. Goldberg, Jonah (May 31, 2017). "L'affaire Covfefe". National Review. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  26. Garber, Megan (May 31, 2017). "Spicer's Razor". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 1, 2017. 
  27. Borchers, Callum (May 31, 2017). "Is 'covfefe' just another distraction?". The Washington Post (Video). Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  28. Mulé, Sarah (November 2, 2016). "Director Paul Feig on his 'Ghostbusters' cast: 'These are strong, smart women'". United Press International. Retrieved June 1, 2017. 
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 Johnston, Cody (November 7, 2016). "Why Does Nobody Know About Trump's Vlog" (Video). Retrieved June 1, 2017. 
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 Nuzzi, Olivia (February 29, 2016). "Inside Trump's Make Believe Presidential Addresses". The Daily Beast. Retrieved June 1, 2017. 
  31. "From The Desk Of Donald Trump". YouTube. Retrieved June 1, 2016. 

External links