Administration

Trump: Will Twitter ax NYT, WaPo in purge of 'fake' accounts?

President Trump on Saturday floated the idea of Twitter dumping major national news publications including The New York Times and The Washington Post as the social media platform removes "fake" accounts.

"Twitter is getting rid of fake accounts at a record pace. Will that include the Failing New York Times and propaganda machine for Amazon, the Washington Post, who constantly quote anonymous sources that, in my opinion, don't exist," Trump tweeted.

"They will both be out of business in 7 years!"

Clifford Levy, a deputy managing editor at the Times who oversees its digital platforms, pushed back on Twitter, pointing to the paper's increased subscriptions during Trump's tenure to note that the publication is "not failing."

Twitter has stepped up its efforts to remove accounts on the platform in recent months amid criticism over harassment and fake accounts. The company suspended more than 70 million accounts in May and June, according to a Post report published Friday.

 

The rate of account suspensions has more than doubled since October as the company faced increased scrutiny over reports about how Russian trolls sought to manipulate the platform during the 2016 presidential election.

 

Trump has returned in recent days to slamming the news media after condemning a shooting at a newspaper in Annapolis, Md., last month that left five people dead and others wounded. While the attack did not appear to be politically motivated, many urged the president to tone down his jabs against the media in the wake of the shooting.

 

"I see the way they write. They're so damn dishonest," Trump said during a campaign-style rally in Montana on Thursday night.

"And I don't mean all of them, because some of the finest people I know are journalists really. Hard to believe when I say that. I hate to say it, but I have to say it. But 75 percent of those people are downright dishonest. Downright dishonest. They're fake. They're fake."

The suspect in last week's shooting, 38-year-old Jarrod Ramos, had a long-running dispute with the Maryland paper over a column about a criminal harassment charge against him. He has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.

Trump had condemned the attack last week, saying, "Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job."

Updated at 11:11 a.m.

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