Searching Twitter for 'racist' shows you President Donald Trump's account

The president has been locked in a battle with Twitter.

Carrie Mihalcik Former Managing Editor / News
Carrie was a managing editor at CNET focused on breaking and trending news. She'd been reporting and editing for more than a decade, including at the National Journal and Current TV.
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Carrie Mihalcik
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Search results on Twitter for "racist."

Screenshot by CNET

President Donald Trump's official Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, is being served up as a result for searches on the social media site for "racist." 

On Friday, some Twitter users pointed out that the president's Twitter account was listed under the People tab for searches for "racist." Multiple CNET staff saw the same result, when signed out of an account and using a private web browser mode. Many of the accounts that showed up in the search results under the People tab had the words "racist" or "racism" in the Twitter name or bios. 

A Twitter spokeswoman said if users mention an account alongside certain terms, the account and the keywords can become algorithmically surfaced together as a search recommendation. A search on Twitter shows that users have been mentioning Trump's account with the word "racist." 

What some people saw Friday when searching Twitter for "racist."


Trump has been locked in a battle with Twitter and other social media sites. Last week, the president signed an executive order that aims to curtail legal protections that shield FacebookTwitter and other online companies from liability for content posted by their users. On Tuesday, the Center for Democracy and Technology sued Trump, alleging that the order violates the First Amendment and is a retaliatory move against Twitter. 

The executive order came after Twitter added fact-checking labels to two tweets in which Trump claimed that mail-in election ballots would be "fraudulent." Clicking on Twitter's "Get the facts" label brings you to a page with tweets from news outlets that say mail-in ballots are rarely linked to voter fraud and that Trump's claims are "unsubstantiated."

Twitter also veiled a tweet from the president about protests in Minnesota, putting it behind a notice that says it violates the company's rules about "glorifying violence." But because it's in the public's interest to be aware of the president's statements, Twitter said, users can click a View button in the notice to go ahead and read the tweet.

Twitter's actions appear to have been a tipping point in a relationship between conservatives and social media companies that's long been fraught. Republicans say their speech is being censored by Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, though the companies have repeatedly denied that they engage in such censorship. 

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

CNET's Queenie Wong and Sean Keane contributed to this report.

Watch this: Trump issues order to stop alleged 'unchecked power' of Twitter