WarTweets is a pervasive game that incentivises political speech and collective action by transforming President Trump’s Twitter account into a game space. While microblog posts are not the best format for political debate, Twitter appears to be the preferred method for president Trump to communicate his intentions and policy decisions. Courts have ruled that the Presidential Records Act of 1978 applies to Donald Trump’s personal Twitter account: @realDonaldTrump. This means that tweets made by this account are official presidential records and it is a conduit for political speech. Federal judge Naomi Reice Buchwald has also ruled that President Trump cannot block any Twitter users from reading or posting to this account because it is a “designated public forum.”
In the game, every tweet made by @realDonaldTrump launches an orange missile that will potentially destroy low and mid-income housing and replace it with a golden Trump tower if it hits its target. Players have 24-48 hours to intercept Trump’s missiles by tweeting their dissent, or their approval, to @realDonaldTrump. Once players authorize the TrumpsWarTweets app to read tweets from their Twitter account, they can play on Twitter or through the game’s interface at war-tweets.org/. To play on Twitter, players simply tweet @realDonaldTrump and include #WarTweets. Players can also tweet directly from the WarTweets game interface, which allows them to target specific missiles and provides suggestions for tweets. Players always have the opportunity to modify their tweet before posting.
WarTweets integrates political speech on social media into the core game mechanic. As players create affinity groups, collaborating to earn points in the game and shoot down Trump’s incoming WarTweets, their posts become part of the public record. WarTweets aims to move beyond clicktivism, and towards a playful form of networked dissent by gamifying political participation.