Earlier this week Fusion launched a bot that tweets out the Twitter bio of anyone who gets retweeted by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump. Trump is a firm user of the manual retweet, quoting praise for himself and disdain for his opponents, self-appointed or otherwise.
Inspired by the bot, social media research and marketing firm Little Bird did some analysis and discovered a startling factoid: "62% of the people Donald Trump RTed this week follow multiple White Supremacist accounts."
While the sample size is relatively small, at 21 accounts retweeted in total, the number is stark. That said, it may not come as a surprise to careful observers, given Trump's Twitter activity as of late. In the course of his avid praise and condemnation retweeting, Trump has retweeted neo-Nazis, alt-right accounts, and various other far-right supporters without apology. Maybe the only time Trump has actually apologized for a tweet is when he stood to offend Iowans (Trump said that RT was a mistake by an intern).
The 62% number is determined based on how many accounts that have used the hashtag #WhiteGenocide each person or group Trump has retweeted follows. Little Bird explains WhiteGenocide as follows:
Last January, a billboard was bought along an Alabama highway reading "Diversity means chasing down the last white person" along with the hashtag #whitegenocide. Then, this Summer, the account @Genophilia kicked off a protest with the tweet "#BoycottStarWarsVIIbecause it is anti-white propaganda promoting #whitegenocide.” @Genophilia is now the most influential voice in the ongoing #whitegenocide conversation, as measured by the number of other participants in the conversation following that account.
And lest anyone think "Well, maybe they're just Trump supporters who happen to follow white supremacists, or people using that hashtag ironically" Little Bird has some more data. Their analysis of the 21 accounts reveals that "28% of them follow at least one of the top 50 White Nationalist accounts on Twitter." For broader context they also add that "1,055 people have used the hashtag #WhiteGenocide and Trump’s name in the same Tweet in recent weeks" (emphasis theirs) and that "14 of the last ~2,000 people to use the word #WhiteGenocide have the word "Trump" in their Twitter bios."
Only 286 days until election day.
Ethan Chiel is a reporter for Fusion, writing mostly about the internet and technology. You can (and should) email him at firstname.lastname@example.org