Trump meets with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, discusses 'health of public conversation'

The meeting, which was confirmed by representatives from both the White House and Twitter, focused on "the health of the public conversation."
Square And Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Speaks At Empowering Entrepreneurs Event
Jack Dorsey, chief executive of Twitter, in Toronto this month. Cole Burston / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

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By Dylan Byers

President Donald Trump met with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Tuesday just hours after claiming the company had treated him poorly.

The 30-minute, closed-door meeting, which was confirmed by representatives from both the White House and Twitter, focused on "the health of the public conversation" on social media and ways to respond to the opioid crisis, according to a Twitter spokesperson.

Trump has been both a prolific user of Twitter and a vocal critic, suggesting at times, and without evidence, that Silicon Valley's social media giants have a bias against conservatives.

The meeting, which also included other Twitter executives and senior White House personnel, was prompted by an invitation from the White House.

Earlier on Tuesday, Trump tweeted out a quote from Maria Bartiromo's show on Fox Business Network in which Daniel Ives, equity research managing director at investment firm Wedbush Securities, touted the president's positive impact on the company. Early on Tuesday, Twitter reported strong earnings and user growth, sending share prices up by more than 15 percent by the end of the day.

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Trump also wrote that Twitter was "very discriminatory" and claimed it had made it harder for people to "sign on." In a subsequent tweet, Trump claimed his follower count would be higher if Twitter were not "playing their political games."

"No wonder Congress wants to get involved — and they should," Trump wrote.

After the meeting on Tuesday afternoon, Trump tweeted a photo of himself in the Oval Office with Dorsey.

"Lots of subjects discussed regarding their platform, and the world of social media in general," he wrote. "Look forward to keeping an open dialogue!"

Trump's complaints add to repeated charges from conservatives who have claimed that Twitter has discriminated against them for their political views. In recent years, the platform began to take a more aggressive approach to abuse and hate speech while also removing accounts deemed to be inauthentic or dedicated to spreading misinformation.

While there is no evidence that Twitter has removed accounts in an attempt to limit the president's reach, the company's crackdown on fake accounts has hit Trump and other accounts that have sizable followings. In July, a massive purge of fake Twitter accounts cut about 300,000 followers from the president's account. The president currently has almost 60 million followers.

In October, the president questioned Twitter's motives for removing accounts and making it harder to create new accounts.

Complaints from conservatives have added to growing political pressure on Twitter and other social media companies, which have been forced to send representatives to numerous hearings to explain their actions. At many of these hearings, Republicans have pressed social media companies on their alleged biases.

During a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, compared tech's power to that of historic U.S. monopolies. "And if we have tech companies using the power of monopoly to sanction political speech, I think that raises real antitrust issues," Cruz said.

CORRECTION (April 23, 2019, 5:48 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed a quote about the president's impact on Twitter. It was Wedbush Securities Managing Director Daniel Ives, not Fox Business Network anchor Maria Bartiromo.