President Trump spends a lot of time on Twitter. He's tweeted thousands of times to his nearly 60 million followers since he was inaugurated as president, and he frequently uses the platform to criticize his political adversaries.
But now presidential candidate and former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., is trying to get Americans to unfollow Trump on Twitter.
"I am calling on all Americans to #UnfollowTrump and hit him where it actually hurts him... his ego,” wrote Delaney, in a tweet posted on Tuesday.
Delaney's tweet comes in response to Trump's Tuesday meeting with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Trump met with Dorsey ostensibly to discuss "the world of social media in general," as Trump tweeted after their meeting. The actual meeting seems to have gone much differently, though.
The President clearly cares more about his Twitter followers than the American people. His continued dishonesty and weaponization of social media has been divisive. I am calling on all Americans to #UnfollowTrump and hit him where it actually hurts him... his ego. pic.twitter.com/Z6cNfNckUU— John Delaney (@JohnDelaney) April 24, 2019
The Daily Beast and The Washington Post reported afterwards that Trump spent most of that meeting complaining about what he saw as ideologically-motivated purges of his Twitter follower count. A source told The Daily Beast that Dorsey assured the president that Twitter was trying to ensure that users only had real followers.
Twitter has previously said that the fluctuations in follower counts are related instead to the removal of bots and fraudulent accounts from the service, rather than any attacks on individual politicians.
Trump has previously assailed the company for so-called "shadow bans" of conservatives from Twitter. Lawmakers like Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fl., claim these "shadow bans" limit the reach of their tweets without banning them directly from the service. Twitter denies any such bans take place.
Shadow banning:What is it, and why is Trump talking about in on Twitter
In response to Russian operatives' usage of fake accounts to sow political discord during the 2016 election, Twitter deactivated thousands of accounts. In a single day in August 2018, former President Barack Obama lost 2 million followers, President Trump lost 400,000 followers, and Katy Perry lost about 3 million followers.
Despite Trump's disagreements with Twitter and Delaney's encouragement of users to leave the platform, it seems likely that he will continue tweeting, even as the hashtag #UnfollowTrump started trending.
A USA TODAY analysis of Trump's Twitter followers shows little effect on his Twitter follower count so far.
Trump lost a little over 2,000 followers since Delaney's tweet yesterday but has gained over 101,000 followers over the past week. And the president has over 1 million more followers than he did in April 2018.
Trump had about 59.9 million Twitter followers. In contrast, John Delaney has about 19,600 followers.
Mike Hopkins, a Delaney spokesperson, didn't comment on the effectiveness of the #UnfollowTrump campaign but urged people to unfollow Trump.
“The President’s disgusting and frankly irresponsible behavior on Twitter has consequences," said Hopkins. "As someone who has personally dealt with the effects of the President’s dangerous rhetoric, I hope that more Americans unfollow the President."
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: A presidential candidate wants people to #unfollow Trump on Twitter. Is it working?