‘Civil war’ tweets spike after the FBI raids Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate

Corresponding spike in searches for ‘popcorn gif’ by those who are not fans of the former president

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Tuesday 09 August 2022 16:43 BST
Related Video: ‘Made up like the impeachment hoax’: Trump supporters rally in Mar-a-Lago following ‘FBI raid’

Tweets using the term “civil war” spiked dramatically after the FBI raid on Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, according to analysis from the social media tracking firm Dataminr.

CNN correspondent Donie O’Sullivan posted a chart of the explosion in tweets using the term by supporters of the former president, showing a huge leap in usage in the early evening.

Mr O’Sullivan further posted a tweet by behavioral scientist Dr Caroline Orr Bueno, who noted: “Trump supporters are REALLY excited about the idea of a civil war.”

She continued by including examples of some of the responses to Monday’s FBI raid: “I already bought my ammo”; “Civil war! Pick up arms, people!”; “Civil War 2.0 just kicked off”; “Let’s do the war”; and “One step closer to a kinetic civil war”.

Mr O’Sullivan noted that at peak usage, the term was being used around 80 times per minute – 10 times the normal volume.

Supporters of Mr Trump flocked to the Palm Beach resort to protest the FBI’s raid of his property earlier in the day after news of the investigation broke on Monday evening.

Videos and photos on Twitter showed supporters arriving at the resort and new home of the former president while tweets from his fans vowed that “thousands” were planning to show up.

Dozens of people were on the scene before midnight Monday, though the mood could hardly be described as angry. Loudspeakers blared dance music as supporters arrived by car on the pitch-black scene where lights were hastily being set up.

Other than an angry press release, Mr Trump continued with his schedule, appearing by video in a rally for Sarah Palin.

On the flip side, those who do not support Mr Trump — or are fans of law and order, and justice — caused a search spike of a different kind.

David Mack of BuzzFeed News found that there had been a surge in searches for the term “popcorn gif” caused by the excitement that any investigation into the former president might be moving forward.

Much like the impressive TV ratings for the prime time January 6 hearings — 20 million for the 9 June edition and 18 million for the 22 July broadcast — there is a keen audience who wants to see justice for any crimes committed.

As of Tuesday morning (9 August) there has been no word from the Justice Department about the reason behind the raid.

It is believed to either be connected to the grand jury investigation into the 6 January 2021 attack on the US Capitol, or the separate (though not wholly unrelated) issue of whether Mr Trump improperly took classified materials with him after he left the White House in January 2021 and returned to his Florida home.

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