Twitter ‘bounced’ from tech meeting with Donald Trump over anti-Clinton emoji

The president-elect met with some of America’s most powerful tech executives at Trump Tower to smooth over frictions after both sides made no secret of their disdain for each other during the election campaign.

Politico and Reuters reported that Twitter, however, was not invited to the highly publicised summit, a move that surprised some in the industry given the president-elect’s prolific use of the social media platform during his election campaign and the company’s high profile in discussions over policy issues such as cyber security and the spread of violent online propaganda.

A Politico source claimed that Twitter’s exclusion from the Manhattan meeting stemmed from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s (pictured) role in declining to make branded emojis on behalf of the Republican, a rejection that brought public complaints from the president-elect’s campaign.

The claim was echoed by news agency Reuters which reported a source familiar with Mr Trump’s relationship with Twitter saying the decision to exclude Mr Dorsey was motivated by the president-elect’s ire at the company after it rejected an advertising deal with his campaign in October.

Mr Trump’s election campaign had offered to pay to have an emoji that would show up on tweets during the second presidential debate anytime Twitter users used the hashtag #CrookedHillary, Mr Trump’s nickname for his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

Twitter reportedly rejected the deal, saying it might mislead users who would not be able to tell that the Republican’s campaign had paid for the emoji.

The Trump transition spokesman said the emoji had nothing to do with the invitation omission and claimed the company was not big enough for the meeting. The official said Mr Trump has had public spats with other tech leaders who were invited, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, and Apple CEO Tim Cook, who hosted a fundraiser for Mrs Clinton.

“They weren’t invited because they aren’t big enough,” the transition official told Reuters.

With a market capitalisation of $13.85 billion (£11bn), Twitter is smaller than Facebook and Amazon, companies that were included in the New York meeting.

The smallest company in attendance was electric car maker Tesla, with a market capitalization of $31.92 billion.

Twitter’s platform played a big role in Mr Trump’s ability to speak directly to millions of voters. The Republican leveraged his sizable following on the platform to circumvent traditional media to speak directly to the public and to bash his opponents.

Under the Obama administration, Twitter has been a regular participant in meetings meant to address technology concerns, especially given its use by groups such as Isil and the ease with which the site is used for online bullying.

Mr Trump, speaking to the group of technology officials at the meeting, which focused chiefly on economic issues, acknowledged others had been left off the list, but he did not mention Twitter specifically.

“I won’t tell you the hundreds of calls we’ve had asking to come to this meeting,” he said to laughter in the room, “and I will say Peter (Thiel) was sort of saying ‘no that company’s too small,’ and these are monster companies.”

The meeting focused chiefly on economic issues, including job creation, lowering taxes and trade dynamics with China, while largely skirting the many disagreements the tech industry has with the president-elect on matters ranging from immigration to digital privacy, according to a Trump transition team statement.