Trump complained to Twitter CEO about lost followers: source By David Shepardson•FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump attends the 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump met with Twitter Inc Chief Executive Jack Dorsey on Tuesday and spent a significant time questioning him about why he had lost some Twitter followers, a person briefed on the matter said.The meeting, which was organized by the White House last week, came hours after Trump again attacked the social media company over his allegations it is biased against conservatives.”Great meeting this afternoon at the @WhiteHouse with @Jack from @Twitter. Lots of subjects discussed regarding their platform, and the world of social media in general. Look forward to keeping an open dialogue!” Trump tweeted, posting a photo of Dorsey and others with him in the Oval Office.Dorsey, who had not previously met with Trump, replied in a tweet: „Thank you for the time. Twitter is here to serve the entire public conversation, and we intend to make it healthier and more civil. Thanks for the discussion about that.”The source, who was briefed on the meeting that included Twitter’s general counsel and public policy chief, said Dorsey explained in response to Trump’s concerns about losing followers that the company was working to remove fraudulent and spam accounts and that many famous people, including Dorsey himself, had lost followers as a result.Earlier on Tuesday, Trump suggested Twitter was biased against him, without providing evidence. He wrote on Twitter that the company does not „treat me well as a Republican. Very discriminatory.”Trump has been upset about losing followers. Trump lost 204,000, or 0.4 percent, of his 53.4 million followers in July, according to social media data firm Keyhole, when Twitter started its purge of suspicious accounts after it and other social media services were used in misinformation campaigns attempting to influence voters in the 2016 U.S. presidential race and other elections.In October, Trump wrote that „Twitter has removed many people from my account and, more importantly, they have seemingly done something that makes it much harder to join – they have stifled growth to a point where it is obvious to all. A few weeks ago it was a Rocket Ship, now it is a Blimp! Total Bias?”Shares in Twitter jumped 13 percent on Tuesday after it reported quarterly revenue above analyst estimates, which executives said was the result of weeding out spam and abusive posts and targeting ads better.Trump has one of the most-followed accounts on Twitter. But the president and Republicans in Congress have repeatedly criticized the company and its social media competitors for what they have called bias against conservatives, something Twitter denies.Democratic U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono said earlier this month: „We cannot allow the Republican party to harass tech companies into weakening content moderation policies that already fail to remove hateful, dangerous and misleading content.”Carlos Monje, Twitter’s public policy director, said at a Senate hearing earlier this month the site „does not use political viewpoints, perspectives or party affiliation to make any decisions, whether related to automatically ranking content on our service or how we develop or enforce our rules.”(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Tom Brown and Peter Cooney)
By Matthias Williams•By Matthias WilliamsKIEV (Reuters) – In a popular Ukrainian TV series, comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy played a president who is scrupulously honest and outwits crooked lawmakers and shadowy businessmen who try to stand in his way.Zelenskiy’s character in the show „Servant of the People” was loved by Ukrainians fed up with how their country had been governed since independence in 1991.On Sunday, they turned fantasy into reality after voters elected Zelenskiy by a landslide, according to exit polls, thrusting an actor with no prior political experience and few detailed policies into the presidency of a country at war.Zelenskiy’s sudden rise comes at a time voters around the world have upended the status quo, propelling anti-establishment forces such as U.S. President Donald Trump and Italy’s 5-Star Movement, which was also once led by a comedian, to power.His victory reflected voters’ frustration with politics as usual. Just 9 percent of Ukrainians trust their national government, the lowest of any electorate in the world, a Gallup poll in March showed.Critics question Zelenskiy’s political inexperience and he remains something of an unknown quantity for investors who want reassurances that he will accelerate reforms and keep Ukraine in an International Monetary Fund program.Zelenskiy’s unorthodox campaign put the incumbent President Petro Poroshenko on the backfoot right from the start.He announced his bid for the presidency on New Year’s Eve, upstaging Poroshenko who was giving a traditional televised address to the nation.Eschewing traditional rallies, his campaign relied heavily on quirky social media posts to his millions of online followers, jokey posters, comedy gigs and winking allusions to the fictional president he portrays on screen.He traded insults and accusations with Poroshenko in tit-for-tat social media videos and the two met in a raucous policy debate in a soccer stadium in Kiev last Friday in front of thousands of their followers.Back in February, when asked in an interview with Reuters what sets him apart from other candidates, Zelenskiy pointed to his face.”This. This is a new face. I have never been in politics,” he said.”I have not deceived people. They identify with me because I am open, I get hurt, I get angry, I get upset. I do not hide my emotions on camera, I do not try to look different. If I’m inexperienced in something, I’m inexperienced. If I don’t know something, I honestly admit it.”After performing in student theater, Zelenskiy came to prominence as a team captain in the TV show KVN, where teams compete against each other with jokes and song-and-dance routines. In 2003, his team formed the basis of TV production company Kvartal 95 http://kvartal95.com/en, which makes Servant of the People.‘SELLING THE DREAM’ In the TV series, Zelenskiy starts out as a humble high school history teacher who becomes president after an expletive-laced tirade about Ukraine’s corrupt political class, secretly filmed by one of his students, goes viral.Disaffection with how little has changed under Poroshenko has helped fuel Zelenskiy’s popularity, according to Serhiy Leshchenko, an investigative journalist and lawmaker.”The desire of Ukrainian citizens is to have new faces, to have new politicians ready to reshuffle the whole political class,” he said, comparing the comedian to Trump.”Both of them are TV stars, and both of them are selling people the dream, so people are ready to accept this dream because they are fed up with the old class of politicians.”The Maidan protests in 2014 that ousted a Kremlin-friendly president brought hope of change, but Poroshenko’s critics say progress has not come fast enough in a country where corruption remains entrenched, oligarchs amass wealth and influence and poverty levels are among the worst in Europe.Zelenskiy’s squeaky clean fictitious president is a powerful image, blurring the lines of where his character stops and the real-life politician begins. Even his party is called Servant of the People after the TV series.IMF DEALS As his campaign gathered steam, Zelenskiy brought reform-minded former ministers to his team as advisers, providing a measure of reassurance to investors who nevertheless found his answers on policy questions vague at times.Zelenskiy told Reuters he would not allow Ukraine to default on its debt commitments to the IMF, which has propped up the economy with billions of dollars in loans.He hopes the country will eventually stop relying on the IMF but, for now, he would not allow Ukraine „to default and spoil the image of our country”.Asked for his position on whether he would allow household gas prices to rise to market levels, another IMF demand, Zelenskiy was short on specifics. He said Ukraine’s tariffs were the lowest in Europe but still too high for many.
Ironically, given the clean image of his fictional president, Zelenskiy has had to fend off suspicion that in real life he is a puppet of Ihor Kolomoisky, a prominent oligarch whose TV channel airs Zelenskiy’s shows.Zelenskiy insists his relationship with Kolomoisky is strictly professional. He said he would not, as some fear, hand back ownership of PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest lender, to Kolomoisky if he becomes president.As part of an IMF-backed clean-up of Ukraine’s financial system, the government nationalised PrivatBank in 2016 – and later alleged the lender was used for large-scale fraud and money laundering. Kolomoisky called the allegations nonsense and has said the bank was nationalized on spurious grounds.”Am I that crazy? Do I want to lose my life, reputation?” said Zelenskiy, when asked whether he would hand PrivatBank back to Kolomoisky.