Tweeter-in-chief gets fired

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It turns out there is a way to get Donald Trump off Twitter. All that has to happen is him losing the US presidency. Now we know.

It’s heartening to know that Facebook and Twitter, two of the greatest titans of this current tech empire, have found their spines at last.

The Washington Post calculated that Trump had told 25,000 lies in the last few years. Most of those, until now, have never been factchecked by social networks too afraid of #PresidunceTrump – as one hashtag has already labelled the Tweeter-in-chief no longer.

Finally, instead of the rampant lies and misinformation, Trump’s Twitter feed this weekend was finally curtailed. Tweets appear behind a notice warning: “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.” Or another that reads: “This claim about election fraud is disputed”.

These two statements are true for just about everything he has said, including the very first of his public rants about the US presidency: his early claims that former president Barack Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii.

Trump is a liar and a bully. Worse, like Oscar Pistorius, he’s a narcissist. And just as much out of touch with reality – the reality the rest of humanity inhabits – as the Blade Gunner.

Not only has Trump forced American politics to take seriously those feeble-minded lawmakers who live on Planet Republican (see any of the engagements by Congress with the Big Tech firms about “censoring conservatives” for proof) but he’s drawn the world’s discourse into the gutter that is Planet Trump.

In this alternative reality, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un – who described theirs as “a special friendship” – was sent 27 “love letters” by Trump, who told a rally in September 2018: “I was really being tough and so was he. And we would go back and forth. And then we fell in love, ok? No really. He wrote me beautiful letters. And they’re great letters. And then we fell in love.”

Meanwhile, despite warning that Russia was trying to manipulate this month’s US elections, as it did in 2016, Trump declared of President Vladimir Putin: “I like Putin, he likes me.”

Of course, as everyone is predicting, this is going to be a torrid time in US politics as the master social media manipulator (with nearly 90m Twitter followers) is expected to go on an angry rant – declaring the elections were stolen, fighting perceived foes, blaming the “lamestream media” and, as usual, claiming conservative voices are being silenced on social media.

You know, with all the usual dignity and inclusivity that Trump’s four years of hell have shown us is to be expected from the man with such small fingers.

Expect pardons for political allies, racists and white supremacists; as well as a range of other wacky Trumpisms. Conceivably, he can’t issue any more executive orders against social media firms – or ones that can’t be defeated in court before January 20 next year – but those are likely to be signed by him anyway.

Perhaps the tweet that sums up the Trump years so well – and with his trademark disregard for grammar, fact and intelligence – is this one from last Saturday: “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT.”

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About Author

Toby Shapshak is editor-in-chief and publisher of Stuff, a Forbes contributor and a Financial Mail columnist. He has been writing about technology and the internet for 20 years and his TED Global talk on innovation in Africa has over 1,5-million views. He has written about Africa's tech and start-up ecosystem for Forbes, CNN and The Guardian in London. He was named in GQ's top 30 men in media and the Mail & Guardian newspaper's influential young South Africans. He has been featured in the New York Times. GQ said he "has become the most high-profile technology journalist in the country" while the M&G wrote: "Toby Shapshak is all things tech... he reigns supreme as the major talking head for everything and anything tech."

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