RANCHO PALOS VERDES, California — Even Hillary Clinton had a zinger about “covfefe.”
The apparent typo word, embedded in a middle-of-the night tweet by President Trump, was the joke of the day on Wednesday online and across the nation. No less so here at the Code Conference, an annual gathering of the tech industry elite.
During her appearance at the conference, Clinton talked about Russia’s alleged attempts to influence last year’s election to Trump’s benefit. That’s when she got in her “covfefe” barb.
“I think it was a hidden message to the Russians,” she said.
The audience, largely made up of people who supported her in the election, laughed.
Trump got the ball rolling on “covfefe” last night when he wrote in a since-deleted tweet, “Despite the constant negative press covfefe”.
The tweet immediately went viral, and an internet meme was born. Trump himself even poked fun at his apparent typo, writing in a later tweet, “Who can figure out the true meaning of ‘covfefe’ ??? Enjoy!”
Despite the joke, Clinton was attempting to make some more serious points about the role of social media in the nation’s politics. Her loss to Trump was due in part social media platforms becoming “weaponised” and used by the Russians to spread misinformation about her, she said.
She called on Facebook to “prevent fake news from creating a new reality.” She called out Twitter, too.
“Twitter has become victimized by deliberate efforts to shape our conversations, to shift it to conspiracies, lies, whatever,” she said. “It’s the same problem Facebook has.”
Clinton said she appreciates that these companies want their services to be open platforms with no censorship. And she said she sympathizes with the people at those companies who are trying to address these issues. But, at least for a while, as a test, she wants them to err on the side of removing reported trouble makers and suspicious news from their platforms.
“I would urge them to hurry up” and solve the problem, she said.