Donald Trump isn’t even officially the President yet, but he’s already affecting the economic statuses of major corporations through his late-night social media criticism. Both Boeing and Lockheed Martin suffered stock dips after critical rants from the PEOTUS, but the most Twitter-addicted politician in history took aim at Twitter itself. The criticism? That Twitter wasn’t “big enough” to garner an invitation to Trump’s meeting with the heads of several tech companies.
Some of the resulting firestorm has indicated that this intentional exclusion from a meeting that included names like Tim Cook and Jeff Beezos had to do with Twitter’s refusal to create a sponsored emoji of “Crooked Hillary” during the campaign. According to reports, the #CrookedHillary hashtag wasn’t enough of an insult, and Trump’s campaign wanted to purchase two emojis that told the world how they felt about the opponent.
As absolutely ludicrous and childish as it sounds, the 2016 campaign saw unprecedented (not unpresidented) use of social media to get the word out, including purchased options. This year was the banner year for these sites when it came to the purchasing power of candidates from every side.
Twitter refused to create the two requested emojis, and a statement released by Twitter as to why may explain it in better context:
“We have had specific discussions with several political organizations, including the Trump campaign, regarding branded emojis as part of broad advertising campaigns on Twitter. We believe that political advertising merits a level of disclosure and transparency that branded political emojis do not meet, and we ultimately decided not to permit this particular format for any political advertising.”
Essentially, Twitter felt that creating the emojis – even for pay – could be confusing to social media users who didn’t know that the icons had been purchased. As a company with a brand image of its own to maintain, Twitter has to be careful not to appear to be taking sides in important matters. Leaving its users in the dark about who had paid for the creation of the emojis could send a message that Twitter wasn’t prepared to be engaged in.
As a result, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey was not present at a meeting that included CEOs and officials from Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Amazon, Alphabet, Oracle, and more. The Trump transition team stated that Twitter was “too small” to be included, a point that seems to go against Trump’s own policy of relying on the platform to spread his messages.