Show Hide image

Mogulgeddon: Alan Sugar and Donald Trump compete to be most childish tycoon on the internet

It's mogul v mogul on the highways of the internets.

Donald Trump v Alan Sugar: whoever wins, we lose

Storified by Alex Hern · Fri, Dec 07 2012 03:20:14

Thanks to Edinburgh Eye for pointing out this lovely little squabble. 
Donald Trump really likes the £100m golf course he built in Aberdeen. The Scottish Government really likes the idea of building an offshore windfarm within sight of that golf course. Donald Trump really doesn't like that idea:
How can George Osborne reduce UK debt while spending billions to subsidize Scotland’s garbage wind turbines that are destroying the country?Donald J. Trump
You’re all wrong—check the facts! UK is massively subsidizing Scotland’s wind turbines & the people don’t want them.Donald J. Trump
Player 2 has entered the game:
@realDonaldTrump RT Scottish don't want wind turbines........I think you have that wrong . The Scottish don't want you !Lord Sugar
.@Lord_Sugar If you think ugly windmills are good for Scotland you are an even worse businessman than I thought...Donald J. Trump
... and, in my opinion, should not be doing The Apprentice.Donald J. Trump
@realDonaldTrump RT: in my opinion you should not be doing the apprentice........well you have NO SAY in that. The British like me not youLord Sugar
(Both of these things are basically true.)
@realDonaldTrump the ugly windmills will bring more revenue and green power to Scotland than your golf projectLord Sugar
(Tricky one to fact check, this. Not only do we not have the internal projections for Trump's golf course, but there's also debate over how much revenue the course will bring to Scotland, and how much will be withdrawn from the country back to Trump's US bank accounts. Less confusion over which will bring more green power, though.)
Sugar: @Lord_Sugar—unlike you, I own The Apprentice. You were never successful enough...Donald J. Trump
.... to do The Apprentice but I approved you anyway. Without my show you’d be nothing!Donald J. Trump
@realDonaldTrump you approved me! What a load of rubbish dream on You don't own apprentice Mark Burnett does. Shut up and argue with ObamaLord Sugar
(The balance of power is obviously a bit uncertain, but given Trump tried to quit in 2007 and NBC were happy to continue without him, I'm gonna give a point to Sugar on this one)
@realDonaldTrump success is measured with what you have in business.I own all my real estate with no bank borrowing how about you big shot?Lord Sugar
(Trump's business empire is built on a lot of debt, which occasionally leads to bankruptcies in his subsidiaries. Trump himself is notoriously touchy about this, even going so far as to – unsuccessfully – sue for libel an author who estimated his net worth at just $250m.)
@realDonaldTrump you only have 1.9m followers with 350m population in the US does that reflect your popularity?Lord Sugar
(0.6% of the US follows Donald Trump on Twitter, but 4% of the UK follows Lord Sugar. Do those figures depress you too?)
Sugar: @Lord_Sugar--Keep working hard so I make plenty of $ with your show...Donald J. Trump
...You have little persona, but The Apprentice concept is great and lucky for you!Donald J. Trump
@realDonaldTrump RT: you have little persona England we say the pot calling the kettle black . You have had a charisma bypassLord Sugar
Hahaha, LOVE this > RT @realDonaldTrump: Sugar: @Lord_Sugar—unlike you, I own The Apprentice. You were never successful enough...Piers Morgan
@piersmorgan trump owns the apprentice hah hah just like I own Arsenal . Or to put it another way like you are the biggest star on US TVLord Sugar
Don't wish to interfere obviously @realDonaldTrump - but it may be time to fire @Lord_Sugar from YOUR show for his impertinence?Piers Morgan
@piersmorgan @realdonaldtrump RT: time for you to fire him from your show.......let's see if the big shot can stop me doing the apprenticeLord Sugar
@piersmorgan @Lord_Sugar I easily could but as long as Sugar is making me money (it's my show) I won't--unlike Sugar, I'm not stupid!Donald J. Trump
It's 'Piers' and 'relevant' > RT @jackbob_jimmy @piersmorgan @realDonaldTrump @Lord_Sugar Shut up pears as if you know anything #NotReleventPiers Morgan
@piersmorgan @jackbob_jimmy @realdonaldtrump the bloke called you Pears due o the shape of your bumLord Sugar
When I made the Apprentice the #1 show in the US, that was a good day for you...Donald J. Trump
... and many others. Drop to your knees, Sugar, and say thank you, Mr. Trump.Donald J. Trump
@realDonaldTrump @piersmorgan you are full of sh.. Trump you have no power over the UK apprentice, just like the Scottish people .Lord Sugar
(I'm not sure whether Sugar is arguing that Trump has no power over the Scottish people, or the Scottish people have no power over the UK apprentice. Either way, I guess he's right?)
Greatest tweet of all time... hahahahahahahaha > @realDonaldTrump: Drop to your knees, Sugar, and say thank you, Mr. Trump.Piers Morgan
@piersmorgan @realdonaldtrump the only one who drops to his knees is Morgan he kisses ar... I trained him how to win your celeb showLord Sugar
(There isn't enough information available to fact check this claim)
Dopey @Lord_Sugar—Look in the mirror and thank the real Lord that Donald Trump exists. You are nothing!Donald J. Trump
@realDonaldTrump donny did u know @piersmorgan called me before he won yr show.I told him how to win by massaging your fat ego. It worked !Lord Sugar
@realDonaldTrump you only have 1.9 m followers not good for your ego how comes I have 2.5m and you have 6 times more population than UKLord Sugar
(Sugar's just rubbing it in now)
@realDonaldTrump did I miss your reply if you have bank debt on your real estate . Do any American followers know about Trumps financials ?Lord Sugar
@Lord_Sugar @piersmorgan Sugar, if you taught Piers Morgan he never would have won!Donald J. Trump
Sugar @Lord_Sugar—you should say thank you, Donald, like a good little boy... ...Donald J. Trump
...instead of biting the hand that feeds you! Don’t bother, just keep making me money!Donald J. Trump
Exactly! > RT @realDonaldTrump: @Lord_Sugar @piersmorgan Sugar, if you taught Piers Morgan he never would have won!Piers Morgan
@piersmorgan @realdonaldtrump RT: exactly ........shut up PinocchioLord Sugar
(I can't work out what the below tweet is a reply to. I think Trump may be shadow-boxing again)
@piersmorgan @Lord_Sugar No, his ignorance!Donald J. Trump
@realDonaldTrump thank you for allowing the UK audience to form a comparison between me and you . YOU LOST ask them who is better at itLord Sugar
And Sugar leaves with a final boot in Trump's side:
@realDonaldTrump @piersmorgan I might be ignorant as I must have missed your reply if you have bank debt on the real estate they own.Lord Sugar

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

The internet dictionary: what is astroturfing?

Yes, like the fake grass.

Thanks to the internet, there are a lot of new words. You’re most likely up to speed with your LOLs and OMGs, which became Oxford English Dictionary-worthy in 2011 (LOL OMG if you’re not). But words emerge constantly, and it can be hard to keep track of them. This is what this column is for. Every week, I’ll define a word that is crucial to understanding the internet, starting with “astroturfing” – like the fake grass.

To astroturf is to mask the author of a message to make it appear to have come from the grass roots. Messages created by brands, politicians and even the military are disguised as comments made by the public. The practice existed before the web – the term is thought to have been coined in 1985 by a US senator who received a “mountain” of letters from insurance companies posing as the public – but the internet has propelled it to new, disturbing heights.

“GIRLS U NEED TO READ THIS,” reads a tweet by a handsome teenage boy named Ashton, who tweets the same words day after day, followed by crying and heart emojis. Ashton lives to promote the book of a 19-year-old self-published author from Sheffield – or, at least, he would, if he lived at all. Ashton is fake, a profile designed to make the book seem popular. Many teenage girls have been duped by this. One told me: “I felt very cheated out of my money and my time.”

It has been estimated that a third of all consumer reviews online are fake. But it doesn’t end with bad books. In China, the “50 Cent Army” are astroturfers who are allegedly paid a small fee for each positive post they write about the Chinese Communist Party. And in 2011, it emerged that the US military was developing an “online persona management service” to spread pro-American messages, allowing one person to manage multiple online identities.

We would be foolish to assume that our own democracy is immune. Much was written about how the Tories used targeted social media adverts at the last election, and it is easy to see how astroturfing could transform our political landscape for ever. 

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 10 August 2017 issue of the New Statesman, France’s new Napoleon