A shockingly small number of people donated to Trump at Facebook and Twitter

Supporters of republican presidential candidate Donald Trump take photos with phones at a rally at the Connecticut Convention Center on April 15, 2016 in Hartford, Connecticut.
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Donald Trump is a social media phenom with 10.6 million Twitter followers and 10.1 million fans on Facebook.

But the love for the Republican presidential nominee ends there, at least at those companies.

Inside the walls of the internet companies, a total of three employees — two from Facebook and one from Twitter — contributed a combined $3,400 to Trump's campaign for president, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. His Democratic competitor Hillary Clinton, by contrast, has 349 financial supporters from the two companies with donations totaling $187,100. The maximum amount an individual can give to a campaign is $2,700.

(The data cover the period from April 2015 through June 2016. Some donors no longer work at the companies.)

Trump's obsession with self-publishing on the websites is no secret. It's how he promotes his rallies, defends himself when attacked, ridicules the media and goes after his rival, most notably with the Twitter hashtag #CrookedHillary.

But he's notoriously unpopular in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the technology industry has soundly criticized Trump's proposals to restrict immigration and trade and his perceived denigration of women and minorities. Ahead of the Republican National Convention last month, more than 140 tech leaders, including executives from Twitter and Facebook, wrote an open letter opposing Trump's "divisive" candidacy and its threat to American business and innovation.

Campaign contributions

DonorsFacebook employeesTwitter employeesTotal
$$700 $2,700 $3,400
Clinton 26980349
$$154,650 $32,450 $187,100

Source: Source: Center for Responsive Politics

"You have this guy who's an incredibly aggressive social media user but doesn't have any other points of resonance or commonality with the people who are creating the technology," said Paul Holland, a general partner at Silicon Valley venture firm Foundation Capital and a supporter of Clinton in this election. "His demeanor and behavior are way more aligned with a sophomore in high school than a 70-year-old businessman with immense things at stake."

On Tuesday, Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman became the latest high-profile Republican to turn on Trump, calling him a "demagogue" and pledging her support for Clinton.

Hope Hicks, Trump's spokeswoman, declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Menlo Park, California-based Facebook. A Twitter representative didn't respond to a request for comment.

There are certain days when Trump seemingly lives on social media. On Tuesday, he posted more than 10 messages on each site on topics including trade deals, a rally in Virginia and a New York Post story about Clinton's supposed ties to Russia. He also sent a tweet calling Barack Obama "perhaps the worst president in the history of the United States!"


The bombastic spontaneity has gotten him in some trouble. At last week's Democratic National Convention, the Muslim parents of a U.S. Army captain killed in the Iraq War criticized Trump for his proposed Muslim ban and for having never sacrificed anything.

Trump fought back against the father, Khizr Khan, on TV and on Twitter, saying he'd been "viciously attacked." Members of his own party sided with Khan.

His Twitter addiction was highlighted in Clinton's convention speech as a warning to the American people.

"A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons," Clinton said on Thursday night in Philadelphia.

Trump's support nationwide has plunged since the end of the DNC. now gives Clinton a 68 percent chance of winning, according to the site's polls-only forecast.

Clinton is no stranger to social media. She has 8.1 million Twitter followers, 5.3 million Facebook fans and an established technology operation, led by an ex-Google executive. In July 2014, the former first lady and secretary of state visited Twitter in San Francisco and Facebook in Silicon Valley, conducting question-and-answer sessions at both campuses.

Clinton's fundraising advantage at the social media companies is mirrored across the industry. Internet businesses have donated $1.5 million to her campaign and related outside groups, over 100 times more than the $13,308 they've contributed to Trump, according to the CRP.

Seven Republicans, all who were beaten by Trump in the primary, raised more from the tech sector than the nominee.

Silicon Valley & 2016 election
Silicon Valley & 2016 election

One notable outlier — though he hasn't donated to the Trump campaign — is Facebook director Peter Thiel. The billionaire venture capitalist is a Trump supporter and was given a prime-time speaking slot at the convention.

Clinton's donors from Facebook include Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer; Mike Schroepfer, chief technology officer; and David Marcus, head of messaging products.

While company employees are free to support who they'd like, the platforms are under intense pressure to remain agnostic. Twitter's trending topics feature is controlled by an algorithm and caters to individual users based on their location and who they follow.

Increasingly, Twitter is proactively suspending accounts from members deemed violent and abusive, a step that some critics claim restricts free speech. The company recently banned Trump supporter and Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos for directing abusive language at numerous users, including comedian Leslie Jones.

In May, Facebook faced allegations from conservatives of political bias in its trending topics section, leading to a public outcry and an internal investigation. Colin Stretch, Facebook's general counsel, wrote in a statement on May 23 that while the probe found no evidence of "systemic bias" in how stories were presented, the company "could not fully exclude the possibility of isolated improper actions or unintentional bias in the implementation of our guidelines or policies."

The social network said it was implementing several changes such as additional training for reviewers and greater oversight of the team.

Twitter and Facebook both have political action committees, which contribute to candidates for the Senate and House of Representatives. When compared to their employees, the companies have been much more balanced in party distribution.

Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, delivers a speech during the evening session on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
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Twitter's PAC has donated $6,500 to federal candidates in this cycle, with $4,500 going to three Republicans and the remaining $2,000 to two Democrats. Facebook has given $313,000 to candidates, with 54 percent for Republicans.

That breakdown isn't totally surprising. Foundation Capital's Holland said Silicon Valley's tech community looks extremely liberal now only because of who's running at the top of the Republican ticket. He said a similar dynamic took shape in the 2008 election when Sen. John McCain from Arizona selected Sarah Palin, then Alaska's governor, as his running mate.

Obama raised $9.7 million from the technology industry in 2008, topping the $1.7 million computer companies and their employees gave to McCain.

"A lot of people here probably lean more Republican," said Holland, who supported Obama that year. "If you keep sending us nut jobs, we're going to keep sending them back."