Trump says he intends to be 'very restrained' on Twitter

The president-elect tells "60 Minutes" he plans to use the social network sparingly "if at all."

Terry Collins Staff Reporter, CNET News
Terry writes about social networking giants and legal issues in Silicon Valley for CNET News. He joined CNET News from the Associated Press, where he spent the six years covering major breaking news in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before the AP, Terry worked at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Kansas City Star. Terry's a native of Chicago.
Terry Collins
3 min read

President-elect Donald Trump shares some of his plans on "60 Minutes."

60 Minutes

Imagine this: Donald Trump is vowing to show restraint when using Twitter while he's in the White House as leader of the free world.

The US president-elect told "60 Minutes" in an interview airing Sunday night that he'll continue using the social media platform that he and many pundits credit for helping him win the presidency. But he said he'll use Twitter in a different way than he did during the campaign.

"I'm going to be very restrained, if I use it at all, I'm going to be very restrained," Trump told correspondent Lesley Stahl on CBS. (Editors' note: CBS owns CNET.)

In his first extensive interview since winning an unexpected victory last week over rival Hillary Clinton, Trump acknowledged the unprecedented role that social media played in the campaign and election. "I find it tremendous. It's a modern form of communication. There should be nothing we should be ashamed of," said Trump, who has nearly 15 million Twitter followers.

"It's where it's at...I do believe this, I really believe that the fact that I have such power in terms of numbers with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et cetera. I think it helped me win all of these races where they're spending much more money than I spent," Trump said.

Trump also dismissed his opponents' campaign spending, saying that "social media has more power than the money they spent, and I think maybe to a certain extent, I proved that."

Trump, who estimates he has a combined 28 million people followers on social media, also praised social media as effective in combatting traditional media outlets. Social media analysis groups said Trump routinely generated more comments than most of his opponents.

"It's a great form of communication. Now do I say I'll give it up entirely?" he said. "I'm not saying I love it, but it does get the word out. When you give me a bad story or when you give me an inaccurate story or when somebody other than you and another -- a network, or whatever, 'cause of course, CBS would never do a thing like that, right?

"I have a method of fighting back," he said.

Trump isn't the only politician awed by the power of social media. Back at the Republican National Convention in July, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told CNET that social media was helping an outsider candidate in a way traditional media never would have.

"I don't think you would see a Donald Trump candidacy without social media," he said.

At the same time, Trump drew heavy criticism for his controversial tweetstorms, ranging from belittling his fellow candidates to his 3 a.m. attack in late September targeting former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, who had criticized Trump for his fat-shaming comments to her following her 1996 pageant win.

"Wow, Crooked Hillary was duped and used by my worst Miss U.," Trump tweeted. "Hillary floated her as an 'angel' without checking her past, which is terrible!"

At many points during his presidential campaign, Trump's tweets were so damaging that his team reportedly restrained his tweeting days before the election.

Since his win, Trump's tweets have mostly been about thanking his supporters, with the exception Thursday of criticizing protesters who have taken to the streets in objection of his incoming presidency.

He pulled back on Friday:

It's going to be an interesting four years come January.