There are two personalities on display in Donald Trump’s Twitter feed. One Trump generally spells things correctly, tweets flattering news stories, and politely thanks visitors for meeting with him. The other Trump is easily provoked, capitalizes random words, and lashes out in real time at things that annoy him.
These two genres of tweets generally come from two different devices—an Android phone and an iPhone—and thus presumably from different people. Last year, David Robinson, a data scientist at Stack Overflow, poked through months of Trump’s timeline and found that tweets from the Android phone were far more negative than the bland iPhone tweets. Trump uses an Android phone as his personal device, suggesting that he was behind the angrier tweets; the iPhone tweets probably came from staff.
To help The Atlantic’s journalists guess whether any given tweet comes from an aide or straight from Trump’s own two thumbs, my colleague Andrew McGill created a new channel called #trumptweets in Slack, the chat platform our newsroom uses to communicate. Every time the president of the United States sends a 140-character missive to the world, it lands in our Slack channel, with an extra piece of information: whether the tweet was sent from an iPhone or an Android device. (Tweets always include hidden metadata that indicate what device or software they were sent from.)
The trend Robinson discovered held up for many months. Angry tweets like these would arrive in the wee hours from the presidential Samsung Galaxy. In the afternoon, staid iPhone tweets respectfully thanked crowds at rallies for Making America Great Again.
Then, suddenly, the flow of Android tweets dried up. After an uncharacteristically dry tweet on March 8 about a workforce report from LinkedIn (the tweet did not have a link, however, true to form), two and a half weeks passed without another from the Android.
The presidential tweets kept coming, of course—and coming…