President-elect Donald Trump, known for his Twitter rants and feuds over a range of topics, appears to have thrown a bit of a tantrum directed at Twitter itself.
According to a report from Politico, Trump bounced Twitter from a high-level meeting with tech executives Wednesday because of a disagreement over an emoji.
Let that sink in for a moment.
— The Hill (@thehill) December 14, 2016
“Twitter was told it was ‘bounced’ from Wednesday’s meeting between tech executives and President-elect Donald Trump in retribution for refusing during the campaign to allow an emoji version of the hashtag #CrookedHillary, according to a source close to the situation,” Politico‘s Nancy Scola writes. “Twitter is one of the few major U.S. tech companies not represented at Wednesday afternoon’s Trump Tower meeting attended by, among others, Apple’s Tim Cook, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, and Tesla’s Elon Musk — an omission all the more striking because of Trump’s heavy dependence on the Twitter platform.”
As Scola points out, it is truly surprising that, of all major tech companies, Twitter would be left out of the meeting. When you think of Trump, Twitter often comes to mind, especially if you’re talking about technology or social media.
Trump was known throughout the presidential campaign season for using the popular network not just for personal commentary or observations but also for making announcements about his campaign and his future presidency. Since Trump’s election, he has continued to use Twitter regularly.
“With some 17.3 million followers of his account, the president-elect has made Twitter into the de facto press channel of his transition operation,” Scola writes.
According to Scola and a Medium post by Gary Coby, the director of digital advertising and fundraising for the Trump campaign, the spat arose over Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stepping in to block a proposed “Crooked Hillary” emoji from rolling out during the election cycle.
“Dorsey personally intervened to block the Trump operation from deploying — as part of a $5 million deal between the social media company and the campaign — an emoji showing, in various renderings, small bags of money being given away or stolen,” Scola writes. “That emoji would have been offered to users as a replacement for the hashtag #CrookedHillary, a preferred Trump insult for his Democratic opponent.”
In his Medium post, Coby argues that the emoji was part of an “upfront deal” that the Trump campaign made with Twitter, in which the campaign promised to spend $5 million on Twitter marketing in exchange for “Discounts on Promoted Trends, Bonus Media on Other Spending, and Value Adds, such as Custom Hashtag Emojis.”
— The Verge (@verge) December 14, 2016
Coby says that the Trump campaign maintained its part of the deal, but that Twitter — under the direct guidance of Dorsey — balked when it came to the custom emojis, which Coby described as “the most unique part of our deal.”
“It’s an emoji tied to a specific hashtag. When anyone uses that hashtag, the emoji is automatically added at the end, Coby says. “We planned to launch both of our emojis for the first debate. One was a contrasting emoji for the popular #CrookedHillary. They were going to be featured in our promoted trend for maximum exposure.”
The emoji dustup isn’t the first time Twitter and Trump have butted heads. As Scola mentions, The Intercept recently ran an article headlined “Of Nine Tech Companies, Only Twitter Says It Would Refuse To Help Build Muslim Registry For Trump.”
The eight other companies asked about their potential involvement in developing such a registry included Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and IBM.
Microsoft replied “We’re not going to talk about hypotheticals at this point,” according to The Intercept. All of the other companies either refused to respond or chose not to.
There’s no word on when or if things might smooth out between Donald Trump and Twitter over their emoji row, but it certainly hasn’t stopped Trump from tweeting.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]