Charting The Popularity Of Donald Trump Tweets In The News 2016-2019

On a typical day around the world, how many news articles link to a tweet by Donald Trump? Since April 20, 2016, the GDELT GKG 2.0 has compiled all of the outlinks found in each article, making it a relatively straightforward task to simply scan this massive link archive for links to Donald Trump's Twitter account. Indeed, earlier today we actually used this very approach to compile a ranked list of all of Trump's tweets that have appeared in the news monitored by GDELT, ordered by their popularity.

The timeline below shows the number of articles per day monitored by GDELT that linked to a Donald Trump tweet or his overall Twitter account, using a 7-day rolling average to smooth the data. Note that shortened URLs of the form "" are not counted here, but a manual review suggests that nearly all linked Trump tweets use the full expanded URL form.

Here is the same data by month to make the macro-level patterns more apparent.

On a typical day, an average of 703 (median is 607) worldwide news articles monitored by GDELT include a link to Trump's Twitter account. In total, from April 20, 2016 through noon EST on September 8, 2019, a total of 868,539 articles were monitored by GDELT that contained a Trump Twitter link.

The ebbs and flows in the timeline above are particularly fascinating in what they tell us about the media's obsession with Trump's tweets and the way in which he conducts the business of presidency through Twitter.


For those interested in how this timeline was created, the following Standard SQL query was used for the daily graph, taking just 27 seconds to process 206GB.

SELECT SUBSTR(CAST(DATE AS STRING), 0, 8) Day, count(1) Count FROM `gdelt-bq.gdeltv2.gkg_partitioned` WHERE LOWER(Extras) like '' group by day order by day asc

This query was used for the monthly timeline, taking 31 seconds for 206GB.

SELECT SUBSTR(CAST(DATE AS STRING), 0, 6) Month, count(1) Count FROM `gdelt-bq.gdeltv2.gkg_partitioned` WHERE LOWER(Extras) like '' group by Month order by Month asc