Trump Baselessly Accuses Democrats of Colluding with Social Media Companies to Hurt Conservatives

Claiming society's institutions are conspiring against him is a hallmark of an authoritarian's rhetoric.

In a Friday interview with Maria Bartiromo on the Fox Business Network, President Trump lied that Democrats and social media companies are somehow conspiring against him.

The president, in a reference to the Russia investigation, told Bartiromo that “the collusion between the Democrats and these people, it’s ridiculous. It’s hard to believe I won.”

Trump went on to brag for the umpteenth time about the number of votes he won in the Electoral College in 2016. He then complained that Twitter had removed a large number of his followers randomly, telling Bartiromo, “It’s not right the way they do it. I know exactly what they’re doing. They take people off my account. They make it very hard for people to join. I had a time very recently ago where I was picking up hundreds of thousands of people in a very short period of time.”

What the president is talking about here is likely one of Twitter’s periodic “bot purges.” The service has long been plauged by automated accounts, called bots, that attach themselves to accounts with large followings and liking and re-tweeting. Russia used networks of these accounts as part of its social media disruption campaign during the 2016 election, in which it elevated and spread content that deepened divisions within the American electorate.

In the last year, Twitter has made an effort to purge its service of these bots. President Trump was among the users who lost a huge number of followers after the purge, because those followers were not real people.

Watch the clip above, via Fox Business.


Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.