On Nov. 2, individuals who tried to view President Donald Trump’s Twitter page found a blue screen that read “Sorry! That page doesn’t exist” instead. After eleven minutes of confusion and conspiracies, Trump’s page was reactivated and Twitter informed the public that a “rogue” employee had taken down the page without permission.
This misuse of power is unacceptable, no matter the employee’s personal feelings about Trump.
However, many questions arise: How dependable are social media platforms when a constant threat of being hacked or compromised exists? Should Twitter and other social medias be used for relaying political canon?
The conversation about what should and should not be posted online is ongoing, especially among millennials, as we are taught to consider future employers, possible stalkers and ultimately, anyone viewing our pages. In Trump’s case, though, he is not just using tweets as a form of communicating thoughts, but also to make policy announcements, and over twenty million more people follow Trump’s personal account than the official POTUS (President of the United States) page. If his account was not just deactivated, but hacked, the hacker could tweet false information. The result of such a prank or hack could be detrimental – even in eleven minutes.
The threat of compromise should caution media users, especially after an incident such as last Thursday’s, when a single employee used his position to manipulate an account with forty-two million followers.
Adam Sharp, who served as head of news, government and elections for Twitter until late 2016, said in an interview with CNN, “If you want the companies to have people to moderate these platforms, it inherently means empowering people to take action against content and users. Similar to the ‘real world,’ if you employ officers to police the community, and empower them with weapons and handcuffs, there is also the potential of bad apples abusing that power.”
In general, we agree that Twitter is not the best platform from which to
relay news. One hundred and forty characters is very few, and the president’s statements most likely cannot be explained this briefly. However, Trump’s tweets become amplified due to the public’s dependence on them for presidential opinion – these bite-sized pronouncements become dangerous if he says something that is confusing, incendiary or completely false.
Trump’s use of social media indicates that he is much more concerned about what he has to say than what the White House has to say. Most news stories are based on what he said – rather, tweeted – as opposed to what the Speaker of the House or another member of the government said or did.
Trump has been using Twitter since 2009; tweeting is not a new manner of communication for him since his presidency. However, anyone with Internet access can now search Donald Trump and find a personal Twitter page where non-supporters who speak their mind are blocked, the opposition is labeled “crooked” or “crazy,” and “death penalty” is written as a battle-cry in all-caps. Media presence is close to becoming each individual’s most prominent presence — what does Trump’s presence say about him?
Photos: The Review Twitter page, marketingland.com, Donald Trump Twitter page