Does Trump Really Write All of His Tweets?


A data scientist who analyzed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's Twitter account appears to have confirmed this week that Trump only writes some of the tweets himself.

Using Twitter's API and a few lines of R code, David Robinson broke down the tweets from @realDonaldTrump into two categories.

Tweets from Trump himself are typically composed on the candidate's Samsung Galaxy smartphone (it is unclear which model he has), while those written by staffers originate from an iPhone, or occasionally from the Web.

Robinson also delved into a sampling of 628 tweets from iPhone, and 762 tweets from Android to tease out which ones were more likely to contain images or links, and which used Trump's signature phraseology, like "huge" or "very sad."

Robinson found that "Android and iPhone tweets are clearly from different people, posting during different times of day and using hashtags, links, and retweets in distinct ways," he wrote. "What's more, we can see that the Android tweets are angrier and more negative, while the iPhone tweets tend to be benign announcements and pictures."

Tweets that Trump appears to compose himself are chiefly focused on attacking his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Three of the five words that appear most often in those tweets are "Hillary," "crooked," and "Clinton." Rounding out the top five are the hashtags #MakeAmericaGreatAgain and #Trump2016.

Other emotionally charged words like like "badly," "crazy," "weak," and "dumb" were overwhelmingly more common coming from an Android device than a campaign staffer's iPhone, Robinson found.

The majority of the tweets from iPhone, meanwhile, are "fairly benign declarations," according to Robinson. They include many more hashtags like #ImWithYou or #TrumpTrain than Android tweets do. They also include times alluding to the start of rallies or other campaign events, like "7 p.m."

Robinson admits his study is imperfect; it's possible that Trump occasionally tweets from an iPhone or from the Web, and it's equally possible that campaign staffers have Android devices. Still, his Twitter analysis provides an intriguing look into the minds of the man who might be the next US president, as well as those of his staffers.

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