Nearly a quarter of former president Donald Trump’s 6,081 Facebook posts last year contained extremist rhetoric or misinformation about the coronavirus, the election or his critics, according to a new analysis by the left-leaning group Media Matters for America.
The analysis found that Facebook did effectively nothing to limit or block the vast majority of his problematic posts, which together were shared and liked more than 927 million times, according to the group, which based its analysis on data from Facebook-owned analytics tool CrowdTangle.
The research demonstrates in stark numbers just how many times Trump came up to the line of Facebook’s rules — if not crossed them — but was given a pass by the company.
Facebook appended labels to 506 of Trump’s 1,443 problematic posts, mostly with a generic label, such as “See Election Results,” which provided links to authoritative information but did not provide users with any indication of whether the post was false or misleading. Of the 506, just one was labeled false and another was labeled partly false, while the rest received more generic labels, Media Matters said.
In all of 2020, The Washington Post counted the removal by Facebook of just seven posts by Trump and his campaign, four of which were for copyright-related issues. Trump and his campaign shared an account.
Facebook spokesman Andy Stone pointed out that not all forms of misinformation related to the election or covid-19 were banned by the company, and that Facebook removed Trump’s posts in the handful of instances where executives found that they violated the social network’s policies. In instances when Trump and others claimed election fraud, for example, the company chose to affix a label directing people to information about the election and voting methods instead of removing the content.