It’s official — Trump has more flagged tweets than he has electoral votes!
Twitter started flagging President Donald Trump’s tweets back in late June, using a variety of milquetoast comments such as “This claim about election fraud is disputed,” “multiple sources have called this election differently,” and “learn about US 2020 election security efforts.” Each of these is a baby-step away from simply allowing Trump to declare whatever outrage flashes through his mind and might even represent baby steps towards removing tweets or suspending his account. More on that later. For now, let’s savor some delicious irony with a side of schadenfreude.
Trump, winner of just 232 electoral college votes has endured the mild indignity of “earning” had his 232nd flagged tweet since November 6th. By my count, this happened on November 30th when he tweeted the following about Georgia governor Brian Kemp:
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Why won’t Governor <a href=”https://twitter.com/BrianKempGA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BrianKempGA</a>, the hapless Governor of Georgia, use his emergency powers, which can be easily done, to overrule his obstinate Secretary of State, and do a match of signatures on envelopes. It will be a “goldmine” of fraud, and we will easily WIN the state….</p>— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href=”https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1333410418119864320?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 30, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset=”utf-8"></script>
Never mind the nonsense contained in the tweet. It’s a milestone of sorts, a sign that maybe, just maybe, Twitter is finding its big-boy pants, the pockets of which might just contain a few kernels of courage. Yes, I’m sure that Trump’s tweets are good for business. They generate tens of thousands of likes, retweets, and comments, each of which generates a few more pennies, dimes, and nickels for Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Eventually, between news of Trump shedding thousands of followers since the election and Trump leaving office on January 20, 2021, all of those flagged tweets and disputed claims will force Twitter to screw their courage to the sticking place and take actual action. Time will tell.
Back to the irony, the schadenfreude. A man obsessed with numbers but infamously bad at understanding how they work has achieved that ignominious milestone in just 24 days, give or take (I’ll be honest — my count might be off by a few, high or low. Suffice it to say that rummaging around in the cesspool of Trump’s Twitter feed is rather unpleasant and prone to blur one’s vision). Be that as it may, he has long surpassed that milestone and is on his way to overtaking President-elect Biden’s electoral college total of 320. He’ll probably have posted his 250th flagged tweet at some point before the end of the day on December 1st, and, given that’s he’s averaging almost ten flagged tweets a day, he could very well surpass Biden by this weekend. At long last, he’ll have the biggest and the best numbers that he’s always boasted about. Too bad they won’t count for anything.
He’ll keep tweeting, though, and amid rumors that he will announce that he’ll run for the 2024 Republican nomination, Twitter will probably hide behind the fig leaf it hid behind when it first announced that it would start flagging tweets but not taking other, more-concrete steps against Trump, arguing that he is a person whose tweets are in the “public interest”. If he does announce that he’s running, he’ll still meet Twitter’s qualifications for unrestricted tweeting in violation of Twitter’s policies (see screenshot). He has 88.8 million followers. His account is verified. He’ll presumably be running for office. There are a few pertinent questions, then:
- How many more flagged tweets can Trump amass between now and 2024?
- How many flagged tweets — what percentage of a person’s total tweets — result in the account being suspended, at least temporarily?
- If Trump calls for violence (such as by insisting that his supporters protest on Inauguration Day or tweeting support for his lawyer Joe DiGenova’s statement that fired Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Chris Krebs be “drawn and quartered…taken out at dawn and shot”), would that result in his account being suspended?
Whatever the answers are, one thing seems sure: Trump will continue to tweet and tweet and tweet. Tide goes in, tide goes out. Always a miscommunication.