Facebook has confirmed the ban on Donald Trump’s messages on its platform. The former president has been seething since his banishment from major social media and has been struggling to convey his message outside his circles of influence.
“What Facebook, Twitter, and Google have done is a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our Country. Free Speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the Radical Left Lunatics are afraid of the truth, but the truth will come out anyway, bigger and stronger than ever before,” Donald Trump ranted immediately after Facebook’s supervisory board issued its decision and confirmed the ban on posts on its platform and that of Instagram on Wednesday, May 5. This decision will be reassessed in the coming months.
Trump’s anger has awakened and has burst out … by way of a press release. Since his eviction from major social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.) in January, the former U.S. president has continued to speak out against what he considers “election fraud.” But his words struggle to gain traction. As soon as he left the White House he vowed to return. Very quickly, the idea of a new social network for and by him took hold. Only 24 hours before Facebook’s decision and after more than four months of gestation, that idea was born.
The Fall of the Master of Tweets
“From the desk of Donald J. Trump,” as it is named, is a simple column added to the former president’s campaign website. “It’s a non-social media that thinks it’s social media but has no social element whatsoever,” mocked The Washington Post.* Therefore, a blog.
The page tries to plagiarize Twitter’s ergonomics — once Trump’s favorite network. Short texts punctuated with exclamation marks and Trump-style capital letters. Complete with a “like” button and (ironically) “Twitter” and “Facebook” buttons to share his content on the networks that have banned it. But it’s hard to see anything other than a simple newsroom remnant: there is no possible interaction.
So it’s nothing that could compete with Facebook or Twitter. Entrenched in the supremacist and conspiratorial twin of Twitter, Gab, Trump struggles to stir more than his 2 million core followers, all already committed to his cause. He had 88 million followers on Twitter and 35 million on Facebook before he was banned for fueling violence on Capitol Hill.
“He continues to speak to his base and gives interviews to Fox News, as well as other conservative and conspiratorial alternative media on the Internet, but he still has to go through intermediaries,” noted Alexis Pichard, researcher in American civilization at the University of Paris-Nanterre and author of “Trump et les médias : L’illusion d’une guerre?” (“Trump and the Media: The Illusion of a War?”).
His blog contains the same messages as his Gab account. Deprived of “mainstream” social media, the former president will have to transform this trial run if he is to reclaim his old audience.
No Tweets but a Party
Deprived of a digital megaphone, Trump has the ear of his peers, at least. The Republican Party was outraged at Facebook’s move, threatening to “limit the power of tech giants over our speech” if it regains Congress in the midterms of November 2022.
In a statement, the former president designated Liz Cheney, one of the few Republican elected officials to vote in favor of his impeachment, as the person to be defeated within the party. He prefers the young pro-Trump Elise Stefanik. Isolated within her party, Cheney could be stripped of her position as No. 3 of the Republican party in the coming days.**
“Trump wants to remain the center of the political arena. He is preparing for the 2024 presidential election and will ensure that he does not have a direct competitor among the Republicans for the next three years,” Pichard explained. “How well Joe Biden brings radicalized voters back to the center will shape Trump’s success or failure in 2024.”
*Editor’s Note: This quotation, accurately translated, could not be verified.
**Editor’s Note: House Republicans voted to removed Liz Cheney from her leadership position on May 12. Elise Stefanik was elected to replace her on May 15.