“What Happened When Trump Was Banned on Social Media”

NYT analysis:

The New York Times examined Mr. Trump’s nearly 1,600 social media posts from Sept. 1 to Jan. 8, the day Mr. Trump was banned from the platforms. We then tracked the social media engagement with the dozens of written statements he made on his personal website, campaign fund-raising site and in email blasts from Jan. 9 until May 5, which was the day that the Facebook Oversight Board, which reviews some content decisions by the company, said that the company acted appropriately in kicking him off the service.

Before the ban, the social media post with the median engagement generated 272,000 likes and shares. After the ban, that dropped to 36,000 likes and shares. Yet 11 of his 89 statements after the ban attracted as many likes or shares as the median post before the ban, if not more.

How does that happen?

Mr. Trump had long been his own best promoter on social media. The vast majority of people on Twitter and Facebook interacted directly with Mr. Trump’s posts, either liking or sharing them, The Times analysis found.

But after the ban, other popular social media accounts often picked up his messages and posted them themselves. (Last week, Mr. Trump shut down his blog, one of the places he made statements.)…

One topic from Mr. Trump that has not spread far: claims of widespread election fraud.

The Times analysis looked at the 10 most popular posts with election misinformation — judged by likes and shares — from Mr. Trump before the social media bans, and compared them with his 10 most popular written statements containing election misinformation after the ban. All the posts included falsehoods about the election — that the process had been “rigged,” for instance, or that there had been extensive voter fraud.

Before the ban, Mr. Trump’s posts garnered 22.1 million likes and shares; after the ban, his posts earned 1.3 million likes and shares across Twitter and Facebook.

Disinformation researchers say the difference points to the enormous power the social media companies have in curbing political misinformation, if they choose to wield it. Facebook and Twitter curb the spread of false statements about the November election, though Twitter has loosened its enforcement since March to dedicate more resources to fact-checking in other parts of the world.

Share

Comments are closed.