Twitter Explains Why Trump Appears Top When You Search ‘Racist’
Twitter has explained why Donald Trump’s account appears at the top of the ‘people’ results list when you search the word ‘racist’ on its site.
In this day and age, we all know how internet searches work. You type in a word, phrase or query and the internet works its magic in order to come up with all the relevant responses, whether they include your exact wording or refer to things that are commonly associated with your search.
The technology is extremely useful when it comes to searching for things like ‘the Friends episode where Monica gets a turkey stuck on her head’, or, my personal favourite, ‘eyebrows actor’, which immediately returns results for The Maze Runner star Will Poulter, because a lot of people comment on his infamous eyebrows online.
Searching works the same on Twitter, where the word or phrase you type in offers up tweets using those same words or phrases, or people who may be relevant to what you’re searching for.
Sometimes the ‘people’ suggestion offers accounts of those who use the search term in their bio, for example if you searched ‘Black Lives Matter’ you might find someone who describes themselves as a Black Lives Matter activist on their profile.
For the most part, the answers are typically unsurprising. However, as president Donald Trump probably hasn’t ever openly described himself as a racist online, it’s interesting to see his profile appear first on the list under the search term ‘racist’.
A number of people have been sharing screenshots of this discovery, and at the time of writing, June 8, it’s still the case:
As I mentioned, it’s not like Trump’s Twitter handle is ‘@realracistDonaldTrump’ or anything, so why is his profile top of the list? Well, according to a Twitter spokesperson, it’s because for a lot of Twitter users the words ‘Trump’ and ‘racist’ go hand-in-hand.
Speaking to Snopes, the spokesperson explained:
If an account is mentioned often alongside certain terms, they can become algorithmically surfaced together as a recommendation.
Trump has long been accused of being racist, with critics citing his plan to build a wall to prevent immigrants from entering the country, and more recently his decision to use military force in order to shut down Black Lives Matter protests.
Given he’s the president of the US, it’s natural that conversations about his actions are common. So as more and more people tweet about Trump in relation to racism, whether it’s to accuse him or to stand up for him, the association between the two terms gets stronger, and voilà! Search ‘racist’, get Trump.
The result almost certainly won’t go down well with the POTUS, who has been getting increasingly frustrated with social media platforms since they (finally) started to call him out for sharing uncorroborated information.
Last month, Twitter posted a fact-checking notice underneath some of his tweets, after which Trump accused Twitter of ‘completely stifling FREE SPEECH’ and threatened to ‘strongly regulate [social media companies], or close them down’.
The following day, Trump signed an executive order which could strip social media giants of the privileges they have for being described as ‘platforms’, rather than ‘publishers’. The president said he wanted to ‘defend free speech from one of the gravest dangers it has faced in American history’, Forbes reports.
In theory, Trump’s attempt to ‘defend free speech’ means people will be able to continue calling him a racist at their pleasure; a side-effect the president probably hasn’t considered. Still, searching ‘racist’ is quicker than searching ‘Donald Trump’, so at least it will make it quicker for people to find his profile, even if they are just going there to criticise him.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Most Read StoriesMost Read