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Trump’s tweets keep US manufacturers on their toes

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Criticism of Ford, GM and others raises prospect of elements of US industrial strategy being formulated on social media

Donald Trump’s prolific and opinionated tweeting helped him win the US election, and now he is using Twitter to persuade big business to bend to his agenda. There was further evidence this week that the incoming president’s unusual approach is paying off after Ford cancelled plans to open a new plant in Mexico. It came one month after a Trump-brokered agreement with United Technologies to prevent 1,100 manufacturing jobs in Indiana from being moved out of the US. After his election win, Trump credited Twitter and other social media platforms with helping him beat Hillary Clinton despite her much higher advertising spending. “The fact that I have such power in terms of numbers with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc, I think it helped me win all of these races where they’re spending much more money than I spent,” he told CBS’s 60 Minutes programme.

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