On 29 November 2016, President-elect Donald Trump issued a controversial tweet about imposing strict consequences for flag burning:
Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2016
Shortly thereafter, people began to circulate a tweet purportedly sent by Trump five years earlier that expressed the opposite view and condoned that form of protest:
Determining that the 2011 tweet had been faked was simple enough using Twitter’s advanced search tool, which pulled up the entirety of Trump’s February 2011 remarks on Twitter and turned up no such post.
Also, Donald Trump’s tweets garnered far less engagement back in 2011 than they would several years later, after he began his run for the presidency. Rather than the tens of thousands of likes and retweets displayed in the purported February 2011 Trump pro-flag burning tweet seen above, his Twitter posts from that period typically prompted less than a hundred of each:
Check out today’s video blog http://bit.ly/g75Jiu
I want to answer more of your questions, tweet me…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2011
ALso coming up: The Celebrity Apprentice returns. Sunday night March 6 at 9 pm EST http://www.nbc.com/the-apprentice/ — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2011
Although it is possible to delete tweets, most of Trump’s deleted tweets have been archived by third-party services.