WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Friday accused Twitter of deleting large swaths of his followers from the social media platform, deriding the company for slow growth and accusing it of ideological bias despite providing little evidence for his claims.
“They have stifled growth to a point where it is obvious to all,” Trump tweeted. “A few weeks ago it was a Rocket Ship, now it is a Blimp! Total Bias?”
Trump tweeted “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. A few weeks ago it was a Rocket Ship, now it is a Blimp! Total Bias?”
The outburst is Trump’s latest attack on the embattled tech industry as it faces deep public scrutiny over its handling of user data and its role in political discourse.
Twitter did not directly rebut Trump’s claim Friday. But in a statement, the company referred to efforts it has previously announced to clear its platform of fake and automated accounts.
“Our focus is on the health of the service, and that includes work to remove fake accounts to prevent malicious behavior,” the company said. “Many prominent accounts have seen follower counts drop, but the result is higher confidence that the followers they have are real, engaged people.”
In July, Twitter announced it would begin deleting suspended accounts from its service, a decision that led to drops in follower counts for numerous high-profile individuals, including former president Barack Obama, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber, to name a few. At the time, Trump lost about 200,000 followers in the purge. Obama lost more than 2 million.
But it is unclear what may have prompted Trump’s most recent complaints about lost followers. A review by The Washington Post found that Trump’s follower count has generally increased throughout the year and into October.
In mid-February, Trump had 47.8 million followers, according to archive.org. In August, even amid Twitter’s cleanup efforts, Trump’s account had 54.1 million followers. On Oct. 7, that figure was 54.9 million. On each of the three days leading up to Trump’s Friday tweet, he had roughly 55.3 million. As of Friday morning, Trump had 55,300,082 followers.
While the cursory analysis does not rule out momentary dips in Trump’s follower count, the trendline is positive, suggesting Trump has added more followers than he has lost, even despite Twitter’s cleanup initiative.
Earlier this week Twitter reported declines in its active monthly user base. It lost 9 million monthly users since the second quarter. But the company’s stock soared as the company reported its fourth consecutive profitable quarter.