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17 Dec 2018 18:13
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  •   Home > News > International

    Rudy Giuliani blamed Twitter for his tweet calling Donald Trump a 'traitor'. Here's why he's wrong

    White House cybersecurity adviser Rudy Giuliani reckons Twitter "invaded his text" after he accidentally tweeted a link to a site calling Donald Trump a "traitor". But it was a prankster who had the last laugh.

    US President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani is not backing away from this tweet:

    On the surface it seems like a pretty standard attack on special counsel Robert Mueller for issuing an indictment just as Donald Trump was heading to the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

    But if you look closely, you'll see he's inadvertently enabled a hyperlink in 'G-20.In', which takes you to a site calling Donald J Trump a "traitor to our country".

    It was a pretty awkward look for the man who serves as the White House's cybersecurity adviser, and was quickly picked up on social media.

    How was the link created?

    Mr Giuliani had left out a space between sentences, inadvertently creating a hyperlink to an Indian-based website.

    This was interpreted by Twitter as a hyperlink because it automatically recognises the letters after a full stop as representing an established top-level domain (TLD) name.

    The hyperlink was quickly exploited by prankster and digital marketing director Jason Velazquez.

    He told the New York Times that he spotted the link in Mr Giuliani's tweet, realised no-one owned the domain and paid $US5 to buy it.

    Within 15 minutes, he had created a page that displayed a simple message "Donald J Trump is a traitor to our country".

    "I wanted something … bold," Mr Velazquez told the Washington Post.

    "Certainly, something that [Mr Giuliani] would not want to be linked from his tweet."

    And what does Twitter have to do with this?

    Nothing. But Mr Giuliani has blamed the social media platform for the error, accusing it of bias.

    He's not the first person to accuse a social media platform of being biased against conservatives, but the claim was regarded by some as a "conspiracy theory".

    A Twitter spokesman said the company can't edit users' tweets and "the accusation that we're artificially injecting something into a tweet is completely false".

    So why doesn't he just delete the tweet?

    It would be the simplest option, but as of Thursday Mr Giuliani's tweet — which has been liked more than 47,000 times and retweeted more than 17,000 times — is still up.

    Mr Velazquez has offered up this reason for why it hasn't been deleted.

    He told the Washington Post that "would mean that I forced him to delete it".

    "It's a hilarious Catch-22. Either I affect what his message is, or I affect what his message is," he said.

    But Mr Giuliani has previously opted to not delete tweets even if they have been mistakenly sent or contained typos.

    Earlier this year, he simply tweeted the word "you". It was regarded as a mistake but the tweet remains live, four months on.

    © 2018 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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