Earlier this month, The New York Times reported what many Americans probably already assumed: President Trump “tends to scroll through the replies to his tweets, and will often pick up what he has seen there.”

In May, Politico reported that, in a meeting with lawmakers about his Syria strategy, President Trump invited his adviser Dan Scavino to testify to the support that Trump’s withdrawal plan had garnered online. “Tell them how popular my plan is,” Trump reportedly asked the man responsible for managing the president’s social media presence.

Combined, these reports reveal the heavy weight the president places on the opinion of Twitter, and specifically the replies. “He is particularly receptive to tweets that reinforce his own views,” according to The Times’ story. Needless to say, this reliance on social media feedback to shape foreign policy outcomes is ill-advised and reckless. But what’s more important is that this behavior exposes — and almost surely has already exposed — the U.S. president to manipulation by foreign governments.

Last year, my colleague Ethan Fecht and I published a study of a Russian disinformation campaign on Twitter, which showed that Moscow attempted to influence American policy on Syria by creating a slew …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics


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