Former US president Barack Obama has said irresponsible use of social media is distorting the public’s understanding of complex issues — hinting that Donald Trump’s Twitter use is becoming a problem.
Obama was speaking to Prince Harry in London and the remarks were broadcast this morning on the BBC’s Today programme, which Prince Harry was guest editing.
'Do I need a British accent?' @BarackObama is interviewed by Prince Harry for his guest edit of @BBCr4today. In this warm-up, the prince jokingly warns the ex-president he'll get "the face" if he pauses too long between answers #r4today pic.twitter.com/2887dGlJkG
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) December 17, 2017
Obama said people in a position of power should exercise care when posting messages on social media, though he did stop short of calling out Donald Trump by name.
Obama also said he felt satisfied on the day he handed power over to Trump, but admitted the feeling was:
… Mixed with all the work that was still undone. Concerns about how the country moves forward but, you know, overall there was serenity there.
Trump has attracted international condemnation recently by retweeting messages posted by one of the leaders of British far right group Britain First.
One of the posts claimed to show “Muslim migrants beating up a Dutch boy on crutches” — though further investigation revealed the attacker in the video from the Netherlands was neither a Muslim nor a migrant.
Jayda Fransen has since been banned from Twitter meaning the messages have disappeared from Trump’s profile.
Earlier this month Twitter began enforcing stricter anti-abuse rules following heavy criticism for failing to tackle online abuse and extremism. Under the new rules, hateful imagery such as the Nazi swastika will now be hidden and users will have to opt to see the “sensitive media” if they wish to view it.
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The Fake News refuses to talk about how Big and how Strong our BASE is. They show Fake Polls just like they report Fake News. Despite only negative reporting, we are doing well – nobody is going to beat us. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 24, 2017
Other guest editors of the flagship Radio 4 morning programme this week are a robot, Bletchley Park code-breaker baroness Trumpington, Tamara Rojo of the English National Ballet, and poet and novelist Benjamin Okri.
This is the 14th year public figures have been in control of the show’s output between Christmas and New Year.
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) December 27, 2017