Presidents need to be responsible online

Social media has become a modern way to display oneself to a massive amount of people. This allows an increasing amount of occupations to require employees to present social media profiles during the hiring process. This means people are held responsible for representing the company, corporation or business they work for both online and offline. Failure to do so may result in the probation, suspension and even termination of employment.

Media software company Cision reported, “A third of employers (34%) have reprimanded or fired an employee based on content found online” in 2018.

Additionally, The New York Times disclosed a requirement that began in 2019, in which “visa applicants to the United States are required to submit any information about social media accounts they have used in the past five years under a State Department policy.”

If both the average employee and visa applicants are held to this standard, the president of the U.S. should not be able to freely tweet, retweet or like dangerously radical and misleading content without questions or repercussions.

CNN reported nine conspiracy theories President Donald Trump has pushed onto his followers.

The content of these QAnon conspiracy theories cover protests, COVID-19, elections and former Vice President Joe Biden. Each of the theories have been debunked, but it is alarming that the leader of the free world spreads such extreme notions while simultaneously claiming them to be true.

For example, CNN cited an instance in which Trump tweeted and claimed in a Fox News interview that “the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had admitted that only 6% of reported COVID-19 deaths are people who ‘actually’ died from COVID-19.” 

Of course, the CDC rebutted the president’s misleading claim and stated that, “6% of COVID-19 victims’ death certificates listed only COVID-19 as a cause of death. The other 94% of death certificates included other conditions as well — but the presence of ‘comorbidities’ does not mean COVID-19 didn’t cause the death.”

Trump’s reckless Twitter presence causes U.S citizens to mistrust science, which he has also proved he doesn’t believe in. 

ABC News displayed his evident disregard for science in May, reporting, “Trump has not only dismissed the findings of studies but suggested — without evidence — that their authors were motivated by politics and out to undermine his efforts to roll back coronavirus restrictions.”

Although quarantine has felt like an eternity, COVID-19 is still fairly new to the world, which makes these QAnon conspiracy theories and Trump’s public apathy for the status of the pandemic in the U.S. so hazardous.

Aseparate CNN article reported the tweet was taken down Aug. 30 because it violated Twitter user guidelines. They also explained that the tweet was removed for “containing a false claim about coronavirus death statistics that was made by a supporter of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory.”

Of Trump’s 87.3 million followers on Twitter, some are bound to hold the misinformation he has spread as fact. 

Considering ways to keep COVID-19 from spreading are to be considerate of one another and wear a mask for the community, this is extremely counterproductive.

His careless online presence does not bode well for him, either. Politico conducted a poll in 2019 showing, “Nearly half of respondents, 46% ... say that, yes, Trump’s Twitter use hurts his bid for reelection — more than twice the number who say his direct-to-voters Twitter account is an asset.”

Because U.S. citizens recognize his brash, click-happy nature online, and he does nothing to act on it, this shows he seemingly does care to be the professional face of the U.S.

The Politico article also reported, “Seven in 10 respondents said Trump uses Twitter too much, and 14% said he uses it the right amount. There were actually a few respondents, 1%, who said Trump doesn’t tweet enough.”

Do not mistake my criticism for the president’s irresponsible, self-destructive behavior online as me saying presidents should not use social media to spread news. I think Twitter is a very handy tool for elected officials to stay up-to-date on things going on in the country and to keep citizens informed and engaged.

Trump, and all future presidents for that matter, simply need to recognize the power that spreading misinformation and Reddit-worthy conspiracy theories hold and take responsibility for doing so before people get hurt for believing in unproven QAnon conspiracy theories.