Oct 23, 2019

10% of Twitter users produce almost all of U.S. political tweets

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

97% of tweets from U.S. adults regarding national politics came from only 10% of users in a yearlong analysis conducted by the Pew Research Center.

Why it matters: Those with intense opinions on President Trump — especially those who strongly disapprove of him — are "among the most prolific political tweeters," Pew notes.

By the numbers: Nearly 40% of users with public accounts tweeted at least once about national politics over the June 2018 through June 2019 study period.

  • Those with strongly negative views of Trump generate 80% of all tweets from U.S. adults and 72% of all tweets on national politics. They're also overrepresented on Twitter compared to the general public.
  • Those who strongly approve of the president produce 11% of all tweets from U.S. adults and 25% of all tweets on national politics. Similarly, they're underrepresented on Twitter compared to the general public.

The state of play: Those who tweet about politics — on either side of the spectrum — are more likely to be actively involved in political activities.

  • The platform is also susceptible to an echo chamber effect. 37% of Twitter users say they follow a mix of political views, but a quarter follow mostly users that match their views. Only 4% say they mostly follow users with different political views.

Methodology: A total of 2,427 respondents with public Twitter accounts participated in the survey; collectively, they produced more than 1.1 million tweets over the course of June 10, 2018–June 9, 2019.

Go deeper: Political tweets turn blue in 2018

Go deeper

Tweet by tweet: Trump praises Trump 2,026 times

Photo: Doug Mills. Illustration: The New York Times. Used by permission.

The NY Times read all 11,390 of President Trump's White House tweets (twice), and reports these findings in a 10-page special section, with three articles online.

The big picture: "At the beginning of his presidency, Mr. Trump tweeted about nine times per day. ... In the past three months, President Trump’s tweets have spilled out at triple the rate he set in 2017."

Go deeperArrowNov 3, 2019

Former Twitter employees charged with spying on behalf of Saudi Arabia

Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Justice Department charges were revealed on Wednesday against two former Twitter employees for spying on behalf of Saudi Arabia by obtaining information on dissidents who use the platform, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters via the Post: This marks the "first time federal prosecutors have publicly accused the kingdom of running agents in the United States. ... The case highlights the issue of foreign powers exploiting American social media platforms to identify critics and suppress their voices," and it has escalated concerns over the tech industry's ability to protect user data.

Go deeperArrowNov 6, 2019

Twitter to stop accepting all political ads on the platform globally

Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Wednesday in a series of tweets that the tech giant will no longer accept political or advocacy advertising of any kind on its platform.

Why it matters: Tech companies have come under fire as of late for policies around how they police political ads. Facebook, most notably, has been criticized for saying that the company would not fact-check ads from political candidates or politicians.

Go deeperArrowOct 30, 2019