Modern Australian

Despite being permanently banned, Trump's prolific Twitter record lives on

  • Written by Audrey Courty, PhD candidate, School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science, Griffith University

For years, US President Donald Trump pushed the limits of Twitter’s content policies, raising pressure on the platform to exercise tougher moderation.

Ultimately, the violent siege of the US Capitol forced Twitter’s hand and the platform permanently banned Trump’s personal account, @realDonaldTrump.

But this doesn’t mean the 26,000 or so tweets posted during his presidency have vanished. They are now a matter of public record — and have been preserved accordingly.

Read more: Twitter permanently suspends Trump after U.S. Capitol siege, citing risk of further violence

The de-platforming of Donald Trump

The loss of public access to Trump’s original Twitter posts means every online hyperlink to a tweet is now defunct. Embedded tweets are still visible as simple text, but can no longer be traced to their source.

Adding to this, retweets of the president’s messages no longer appear on the forwarding user’s feed. Quote tweets have been replaced with the message: “This Tweet is unavailable” and replies can’t be viewed in one place anymore.

But even if Trump’s account had not been suspended, he would have had to part with it at the end of his presidency anyway, since he used it extensively for presidential purposes.

Under the US government’s ethics regulations, US officials are prevented from benefiting personally from their public office, and this applies to social media accounts.

Former US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, also used her personal and political Twitter accounts to conduct official business as ambassador. The account was wiped and renamed in 2019 once her role ended.

Where did all the information go?

Despite being permanently suspended, Trump’s prolific Twitter record is not lost. Under the Presidential Records Act, all of Trump’s social media communications are considered public property, including non-public messages sent via direct chat features.

The act defines presidential records as any materials created or received by the president (or immediate staff or advisors) in the course of conducting his official duties.

It was passed in 1978, out of concern that former president Richard Nixon would destroy the tapes which ultimately led to his resignation. Today, it remains a way to force governments to be transparent with the public.

And although Trump tweeted extensively from his personal Twitter account created in 2009, @realDonaldTrump, it has undoubtedly been used for official purposes.

From banning transgender military service to threatening the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea, his tweets on this account constitute an important part of the presidential record.

As such, the US National Archives says it will preserve all of them, including deleted posts — as well as all posts from @POTUS, the official presidential account.

The Trump administration will have to turn over the digital records for both accounts on January 20, which will eventually be made available to the public on a Trump Library website.

Still, the president reserves the right to invoke as many as six specific restrictions to public access for up to 12 years.

We don’t know whether Trump will invoke restrictions. But even if he does, grassroots initiatives have already archived all of his tweets.

For example, the Trump Twitter Archive is a free, public resource that lets users search and filter through more than 56,000 tweets by Trump since 2009, including deleted tweets since 2016.

Screenshot taken from https://www.thetrumparchive.com/ The Trump Twitter Archive, started in 2016, is currently one of few extensive online databases providing access to the president’s past tweets. Screenshot

A matter of public record

In 2017, Trump told Fox News he believed he may have never been elected without Twitter — and that he viewed it as an effective means for pushing his message.

Twitter also benefited from this relationship. Trump’s 88 million followers (as of when his account was suspended) generated endless streams of user engagement for the social media giant.

Trump’s approach to using Twitter was unprecedented. He bypassed traditional media channels, instead tweeting for political and diplomatic purposes — including to make important policy announcements.

His tweets set the agenda for US politics during his presidency. For example, they influenced foreign relations between the US and Mexico, North Korea, China and Iran. They were also used to endorse allies and attack rivals.

Read more: Twitter diplomacy: how Trump is using social media to spur a crisis with Mexico

The closest thing to a town square

For all the reasons listed above, the value of Trump’s Twitter record extends beyond historical research. It’s a way to hold him accountable for what he has said and done.

And this will soon be on display as the US Democratic Party looks to impeach him for the second time for “inciting insurrection”.

Trump’s administration of “alternative facts” has continuously stonewalled a number of enquiries — going as far as refusing to testify before Congress on certain matters.

From this frame of view, Trump’s Twitter feed was arguably one of few places where his claims and decisions could really be scrutinised. And indeed, news coverage of the president often relied heavily on this.

Rioters outside the Capitol building The US Capitol building in Washington was stormed by thousands of pro-Trump rioters on Wednesday. Trump in response tweeted a video in which he called the agitators ‘very special’ and said he loved them. AP

The amplification effect

The media’s reliance on president Trump’s tweets ultimately highlights a key aspect that governs today’s hybrid media system. That is, it’s highly responsive to a populist communication style.

Trump’s use of Twitter indirectly contributed to his election success in 2016, by helping boost media coverage of his campaign. Researchers also observed him strategically increasing his Twitter activity in line with waning news interest.

Through a constant stream of provocative remarks, Trump exploited news values and continuously inserted himself into the news cycle. And for journalists under pressure to churn out content, his impassioned messages were the perfect sound bites.

Now, stripped of his favourite mouthpiece, it’s uncertain whether Trump will find another way to exert his influence. But one thing is for sure: his time on Twitter will go down in history.

Authors: Audrey Courty, PhD candidate, School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science, Griffith University

Read more https://theconversation.com/despite-being-permanently-banned-trumps-prolific-twitter-record-lives-on-152969

NEWS

Engineers have built machines to scrub CO₂ from the air. But will it halt climate change?

ClimeworksOn Wednesday this week, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was measured at at 415 parts per million (ppm). The level is the highest in human history, and...

To publish or not to publish? The media's free-speech dilemmas in a world of division, violence and extremism

AAP/AP/ John Nacion/STAR MAX/IPxTerrorism, political extremism, Donald Trump, social media and the phenomenon of “cancel culture” are confronting journalists with a range of agonising free-speech dilemmas to which there are...

I've heard COVID is leading to medicine shortages. What can I do if my medicine is out of stock?

from www.shutterstock.comYou’ve just come from your monthly GP appointment with a new script for your ongoing medical condition. But your local pharmacy is out of stock of your usual medicine...

not everyone can access these spaces equally

Silas Baisch/UnsplashLast week, the McIver’s Ladies Baths in Sydney came under fire for their (since removed) policy stating “only transgender women who’ve undergone a gender reassignment surgery are allowed entry”...

Young Australians remain ill-equipped to participate in Australian democracy

Despite many young Australians having a deep interest in political issues, most teenagers have a limited understanding about their nation’s democratic system. Results from the 2019 National Assessment Program –...

Expect the new normal for NZ's temperature to get warmer

Flickr/Stephen Murphy, CC BY-NC-NDIt might be summer in New Zealand but we’re in for some wild weather this week with forecasts of heavy wind and rain, and a plunge in...

Everything You Need to Know about 5G Technology

Smartphone users today want faster data speeds, accompanied by more accessible services. 5G, the Next Generation of wireless networks claims to extend the same and much more. 5G allows users...

Curious Kids: how do scabs form?

ShutterstockHow do scabs form? — Talila, aged 8Great question, Talila! Our skin has many different jobs. One is to act as a barrier, protecting us from harmful things in the...

Men and women kill their children in roughly equal numbers, and we need to understand why

On average, one child is killed by a parent almost every fortnight in Australia.Last week, three children — Claire, 7, Anna, 5, and Matthew, 3 — were included in this...

patent rights, national self-interest and the wealth gap

www.shutterstock.comWe will not be able to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us until the world’s population is mostly immune through vaccination or previous exposure to the disease. A truly global...

After riots, Donald Trump leaves office with under 40% approval

AAP/EPA/ Yuri Gripas /poolAt 4am Thursday AEDT, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be inaugurated as president and vice president of the United States, replacing Donald Trump and Mike Pence...

when we frame illegal fishers as human and drug smugglers, everyone loses

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing costs economies up to US$50 billion globally each year, and makes up to one-fifth of the global catch. It’s a huge problem not only for...



News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion













Popular articles from Modern Australian

Estate Planning for Blended Families: 6 Tips on Getting It RightImportance of Texture and Layering in Interior Design3 Ways Your Drains Become Blocked 5 Reasons for No Power at HomeHow Is Tequila Made?Why You Should Enlist The Services Of A Property StylistTop Luxury Resorts For A Restorative Staycation In AustraliaUnderstanding Employee Car Allowance Rates in Australia7 Bucket-List Worthy Experiences in DubaiThe Effects of Pollen Throughout the Year What Qualifications Are Required to Work as a Chef in Australia?How You Can Create A Café With A Shipping ContainerA Few Great Uses For Laundry DetergentHow To Make Living With Housemates SimplerGreat Tips For Buying Flowers For Valentine’s Day