(Reuters) – Twitter users searching for the word ‘loser’ on Saturday were greeted with an unusual first result: US President Donald Trump’s account.
The search result appeared as major news organizations declared that voters had delivered the presidency to Trump’s opponent, Democrat Joe Biden, after four days of nail-biting suspense following Tuesday’s election.
Searches for “winner” in the same “People” tab on Twitter, which suggests accounts to follow rather than turning up results from the text of users’ tweets, pointed to the accounts of Biden and his running mate, US Senator Kamala Harris.
Twitter said the results were automatically generated based on how people on the app were using the terms in their tweets at the time.
“If an account is mentioned often alongside certain terms, they can become algorithmically surfaced together as an association. These associations are temporal and ever-changing based on how people tweet,” the company said in a statement.
The ‘loser’ association was a rebuke for a president who for years has used the same social media platform to rail against those he deemed “haters and losers.”
Earlier on Saturday, Twitter applied a warning label to a tweet by Trump that, in all-caps, falsely claimed that he had won the election. Facebook likewise applied a label to the same post: “Joe Biden is the projected winner of the 2020 US Presidential Election.”
Social media companies have been labeling many of the president’s posts in recent days, after vowing to curb election misinformation and premature claims of victory.
(Reporting by Raphael Satter in Washington, D.C., Elizabeth Culliford in Birmingham, England and Katie Paul in Palo Alto; Editing by Giles Elgood)