President Trump is known for his free use of the social media platform Twitter.
Since taking office in January, the president has notably continued to use his own Twitter account @realDonaldTrump instead of switching to the official @POTUS account, instead choosing to tweet his views to his 24.9m followers.
Of the 45 accounts Trump is following, Piers Morgan, the British media personality, has the most followers, clocking in at 5.52m.
UPDATE: Fox is back on top of the following list
Displaying Trump’s obsession with the mainstream media he claims to hate, over a third (18) accounts the president follows are media accounts – whether that’s individuals like Piers Morgan or program accounts such as Fox & Friends. Around half of the media accounts Trump follows are affiliated with Fox News.
He recently added two new Fox reporters: Tucker Carlson and Jesse Watters to bring his follower count up to 45. The decision to follow Carlson is interesting, particularly as he is set to replace Bill O’Reilly on the channel after O’Reilly was forced to step down as a result of sexual assault allegations.
Carlson agrees with Trump’s immigration views and defended the Muslim ban.
Hover over the bubbles to see how much influence each of the accounts that Trump follows has
Who else does Trump choose to follow on the platform?
As you might imagine from someone who has such a big family, this makes up a bulk of who Trump follows on Twitter. Interestingly enough, Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner and Trump’s senior adviser, are not followed. Kushner has a verified Twitter account but hasn’t tweeted once since 2009.
You can scroll down on Trump’s list of followed accounts to see everyone he is following, and Ivanka’s is at the bottom, suggesting she was the first account followed, compared to Melania’s which is in the middle of the list.
This isn’t surprising, considering there were reports before Trump’s inauguration that said his daughter Ivanka would be the official first wife, over Melania.
A great discussion with two world leaders about the importance of women having a seat at the table! ???? pic.twitter.com/AtiSiOoho0
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) February 13, 2017
This is an interesting one.
As mentioned earlier, 16 specific media personalities and accounts Trump follows are linked to Fox News. Six accounts are for affiliates of Fox News, with two other accounts being held by people who are other spokespersons on the network, Corey Lewandownski and Ann Coulter.
This means that over 50 percent of the media accounts the president follows are affiliated to one news source.
Double click to zoom in on the chart
Trump used to follow three affiliates of MSNBC, making this the second-most represented news organisation on his Twitter feed, however this has been reduced to one.
The president also follows the Drudge Report, an aggregate news website that broke the Monica Lewinsky scandal in the 90s after Newsweek decided to hold it.
Re the 'bombshell' @nytimes scoop re Trump & Russia,
I don't see any bombshell yet.
No smoking gun or evidence linking Trump to anything?
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 15, 2017
Staff, former staff, and almost staff are included in Trump’s followers.
Despite reports that Trump decided to unfollow his adviser Kellyanne Conway, she is at the top of his Twitter following list – suggesting that he probably wasn’t following her until recently (when it was suggested he unfollowed her). As well as this, Mike Pence his VP is followed, his White House chief of staff and head of social media are included too.
Dan Scavino Jr, director of social media at the White House, must be one of Trump’s favourite people as both his official and personal accounts are followed. The president recently began following his second account, alongisde the official White House account.
Weirdly, Katrina Campins, who was in the first season of The Apprentice but notably didn’t win, and currently works as a real estate agent as part of Trump International, is followed by the president.
His former national campaign spokesperson Katriana Pierson, and Tea Party activist, is also included on this list.
I serve at the pleasure of @POTUS. His message is my message. His goals are my goals. Uninformed chatter doesn't matter.
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) February 14, 2017
Trump is a businessman first and foremost and where else would be better to promote your own brands than on your cultivated, small, Twitter following.
His hotels and golf courses across the US, including Trump Washington DC, Trump Vegas Hotel and Trump Los Angeles, are included on this bespoke list.
Other celebrity accounts
As we all know, Trump was on The US Apprentice since its launch in 2004.
Fittingly, he follows Mark Burnett, the president of MGM TV and Digital Group and the creator of his show. Trump also follows his wife, the British actress Roma Downey who has also been the executive producer for a series of religion-based shows.
As well as this he follows Gary Player, the grand slam golfer, and Vince McMahon, the chairman and chief exec of WWE, whose wife, Linda McMahon, is Trump’s chosen administrator of the small business administration.
She was confirmed by the US Senate committee on small business and entrepreneurship earlier this month.
— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) December 7, 2016
The president follows two supporter accounts of him: Official Team Trump and Diamond and Silk, which, according to their bio, are Trump’s “most outspoken and loyal supporters”.
— Diamond and Silk® (@DiamondandSilk) February 8, 2017
What does Trump’s following tell us about the man himself?
Well, he likes Fox News for starters. And the reports that he likes watching cable news appear to be true as he also follows a few MSNBC presenters.
In fact, his recent decision to unfollow MSNBC presenters due to their scathing comments about his recent actions shows Trump’s inability to face criticism, whether that’s arguing about the size of his inauguration audience or denouncing all critical news media as ‘fake news’.
Elsewhere, he picks and chooses which of his administration to follow on Twitter and the recent addition of Kellyanne Conway after reports that he was snubbing her on the platform, is amusing.
Significantly, the POTUS isn’t even following @POTUS, his official Twitter account and the one that is managed by Dan Scavino.
Notably, on that account, his press secretary Sean Spicer is included in his list of eight followers, someone who is absent from the @realdonaldtrump account.
Who has Trump unfollowed?
Ah, yes, the president’s ear can be giveth and it can be taketh away.
The first two casualties on Trump’s followers list were MSNBC presenters Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Throughout the campaign, the two were accused of being too supportive of Trump, as he appeared on the “Morning Joe” program several times during his journey to the White House.
However, sentiment has changed. Scarborough recently called Trump “a fake president” and Brzezinski expressed distress at the current state of American politics, saying:
“I had hope and open mind. I have lost hope compltely and my mind is closed. This presidency is fake and failed.”
Also this week, Trump had a brief flirt with the National Weather Service on Twitter. He was following @NWS for just over 24 hours before the account was removed from the curated list.
Maybe he was concerned that reports of a storm were hitting the US were fake news? Or maybe he wanted to check the weather in Flordia to see if he should de-camp to Mar-A-Lago for the weekend?
Freeze Warnings are in effect tonight across much of the southeast US — even Florida can’t escape this cold air mass. pic.twitter.com/gjzgKWdRCC
— NWS (@NWS) March 15, 2017
Either way, the @NWS has been relegated to non-follow status by the president.