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Motherboard today reports that Dorsey along with other Twitter executives held a closed door meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House. The meeting was 30 minutes long and the company anticipated it to be about “the health of the public conversation on Twitter,” according to the email written to Motherboard by Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s global lead for legal, policy, and trust and safety.
Here are the internal emails sent to Twitter employees. One is from Twitter policy and legal head Vijaya Gadde. The other is from CEO Jack Dorsey. pic.twitter.com/kwED7krPMN
— Ryan Mac (@RMac18) April 23, 2019
In another email obtained by Motherboard which appears to be from Dorsey and he writes, “As you know, I believe that conversation, not silence, bridges gaps and drives towards solutions,” he further wrote. “I have met with every world leader who has extended an invitation to me, and I believe the discussions have been productive, and the outcomes meaningful.”
He added, “Some of you will be very supportive of our meeting [with] the president, and some of you might feel we shouldn’t take this meeting at all. In the end, I believe it’s important to meet heads of state in order to listen, share our principles and our ideas.”
This isn’t Dorsey’s first trip to the White House, in 2011 he moderated the Twitter townhall with Barack Obama where they discussed how social media and especially Twitter has replaced traditional news sources. As Gadde’s email adds that Dorsey recently met with the president of South Korea, the president of Japan, the prime minister of New Zealand, and the prime minister of India.
But the CEO hadn’t yet met with Pres. Trump—at least not publicly. And when in 2016, Trump held a meeting with tech leaders including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Dorsey was reportedly not invited.
Donald Trump on Tuesday termed Twitter as “very discriminatory” and also said that the company does not treat him well as a Republican. He further accused the company of “playing political games” and called on Congress to “get involved.” It isn’t the first time that Trump complained about a supposed anti-conservative bias on Twitter, in one of the tweets in October, he accused Twitter of removing “many people from my account.” Last July, he accused the platform of “‘SHADOW BANNING’ prominent Republicans,” or purposely hiding content from right-leaning accounts. He has repeatedly accused Twitter which makes it noteworthy for the reason that this meeting was held.
According to the Washington Post, Trump spent a “significant portion” of the meeting asking Dorsey about why he was losing Twitter followers. This could be the case when yesterday NBC reported that a network of 5000+ pro Trump Russian fake bots were removed from his account shortly after the release of Robert Mueller’s report last week.
Network of 5,000+ pro-Trump Twitter bots railed against the “Russiagate hoax” shortly after the release of the redacted Mueller report last week, according to data gathered by a prominent disinformation researcher and analyzed by @NBCNewsTech. https://t.co/RQvcQxjL8n
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 23, 2019
In response to all the accusations made by Trump, a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement at the time, “To be clear, our behavioral ranking doesn’t make judgments based on political views or the substance of tweets,”. The company has been cracking down on spam accounts and implementing other initiatives to improve the “health” of the platform over the past year.
And as this news was reported Donald Trump immediately tweeted with a photo saying it was great meeting the Twitter CEO today.
Great meeting this afternoon at the @WhiteHouse with @Jack from @Twitter. Lots of subjects discussed regarding their platform, and the world of social media in general. Look forward to keeping an open dialogue! pic.twitter.com/QnZi579eFb
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2019
Jack responded back to Trump by thanking him for his time and said “Twitter is here to serve the entire public conversation, and we intend to make it healthier and more civil.”
Thank you for the time. Twitter is here to serve the entire public conversation, and we intend to make it healthier and more civil. Thanks for the discussion about that.
— jack (@jack) April 23, 2019
Former engineering manager Leslie Miley tweeted, “Ironic that open conversation and transparency does not apply to this meeting. Ironic that he meets with someone who targets people for harassment including death threats.”
Former engineering manager at Twitter 👇 https://t.co/KxvzvnOj2l
— Charlie Warzel (@cwarzel) April 23, 2019
Twitter anticipated this earlier and last year it wrote in a blog post that it has special policies for accounts owned by “world leaders.”
“Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate,” the company wrote. “It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.”