@realDonaldTrump is back, as is concern about his 280 characters

Donald Trump is allowed to tweet again, but still keeps his hands off it. But can the former US president-wish-to-be-again resist the temptation?

Does Donald Trump’s return to Twitter mean a comeback of “covfefe”? Possibly illustrates the enigmatic neologism, which the then US President accidentally set in motion in 2017 and deleted againmost impressively the weight that was once attached to his constantly agitated short messages, no matter how meaningless they may have been.

At the time, the seemingly arbitrary word monster occupied editorial offices around the world trying to interpret the jumble of letters. What could the president have meant after four months in office? The Cyptic Tweet was discussed in the White House press briefinguntil the deletion there was “six hours and three minutes of internet chaos”, like the “Atlantic” should be stated years later. To this day there is no reliable answer to the question of what “covfefe” could have meant, at least it remains that way specially created Wikipedia article guilty.

Of course, there have been far more controversial tweets from the former president who has been there at times announced military strikes or Cabinet members resigned, and with far greater consequences. Eventually, he was banned from short messaging after showing goodwill for his rampaging supporters who violently stormed the Capitol in Washington in January 2021. The “risk of further incitement to violence” is too great, it said on Twitter to.

Now is “@realDonaldTrump” back, at least in theory. The profile of the ex-president has been activated again since Sunday, but (still) no more than a time capsule: Trump has since controversial rehabilitation by the equally controversial Twitter boss Elon Musk did not touch the keys again, his last visible tweet is dated January 8, 2021. In it he announced that the inauguration of Joe Biden would take place without his presence.

Doesn’t he want to go back? And if so, what is he waiting for? Again a wordy debate takes its course as to the scope of the maximum of 280 slim signs from Trump, who is no longer President of the United States, but wants to be again. And again the collective anxiety is great: they are sweeping with Trump countless lies and hate comments back in compact bites?

“Hotbed of hatred, harassment and hate speech”

Some call it so, others so. Trump says: “I see no reason for it”. A comeback on Twitter he initially gave a rejection on Sundaywithout completely excluding it. He wants to remain loyal to Truth Social, which he believes already has better user retention and is doing “phenomenally well.”

Trump created the alternative network specifically to make up for the loss of his presence on Twitter, Facebook and other channels – and to spread his own truth. “We live in a world where the Taliban have a huge presence on Twitter, but your favorite American President has been silenced,” Trump said at the time.

Trump has 4.6 million followers on the platform, on which his fans, conservatives and right-wingers in particular have been shooting freely ever since. In September, the website recorded around 1.7 million visitors from the USA, as the internet analysis company Similarweb estimates, and is therefore not suitable for Trump as a powerful multiplier of his views. On Twitter, on the other hand, around 89 million accounts followed what the former president was up to. Now, with the lockdown lifted, it’s only slightly less at 87.3 million.

It is therefore possible that, with a view to his presidential candidacy, Trump will again use the megaphone that was once taken from his hand to spread his views to the masses. If he shares the content he’s trumpeting on Truth Social there, he could turn Twitter into a “hotbed of hate, harassment and hate speech,” said Joan Donovan, a Harvard researcher Joan Shorenstein Center in Cambridge researches, among other things, misinformation.

A return to Twitter would probably also come with a boost for his personal brand, she said “New York Times”, he could reach a much broader and more influential audience there. “The difference between Twitter and Truth Social isn’t just a matter of scale. It’s a matter of influence — global leaders, journalists, celebrities, cultural workers, these are the people who are on Twitter,” Donovan said. Even if Trump simply tweeted links to his posts on Truth Social, it would strengthen his brand.

Donald Trump and Twitter, an unholy alliance

However, the hands of the former president are apparently tied, at least to a certain extent. Trump has a financial interest in Truth Social and, according to a decision by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, is contractually obligated to make his posts exclusively on Truth Social for six hours. That reported the “New York Times”. However, he can immediately post on any website if the news relates to political messages, calls for donations or initiatives to vote. How narrow or broad the definition can be interpreted is unclear. Truth Social did not respond to a statement to the newspaper.

The renowned journalist Kara Swisher, who is considered a proven expert on social networks and the tech industry, says: Trump’s return to Twitter makes no difference. His “truths” are already being shared on Twitter without his doing anything. Nevertheless, he probably won’t be able to resist getting involved there himself, she said Interview with CBS. “I don’t think it makes a difference. Besides, he’s the former president, so it won’t take that.”

Brian L. Ott is clearly more pessimistic. in one Guest article for the “New York Times” warns the communication scientist from the Missouri State University and author to prepare for the worst.

Twitter return: @realDonaldTrump is back, as is concern about his 280 characters

“As someone who has studied Mr. Trump’s Twitter use prior to his election as President, I believe his return will reflect the increased dissemination of misinformation and disinformation, demeaning and dehumanizing discourse, hate speech, and the erosion of democratic norms and institutions would mean,” writes Ott. The “probability of political violence” could also increase.

The scientist writes of an unholy alliance that Trump and Twitter form and make it so dangerous: The strict limitation to 280 characters practically does not allow thoughtful or sustained discussions on serious topics, so it is only suitable for “broadly and quickly communicating simple messages “. A prime discipline of Trump, whose tweets were tagged with all sorts of warningsbecause their hyper-focused content was misleading or simply wrong.

“Put simply,” Ott writes, “when you’re surrounded by dry kindling, add an accelerant, and strike a match, a conflagration is the predictable event.”

Sources: “New York Times”, “Axios”, “Washington Post”, ABC News, “Atlantic”, CNN

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