From Icon to Outcast: Trump’s Difficult Social Media Relationship

Washington | Former US President Donald Trump, one of the most skilled politicians on social media, built a massive following on major platforms before he was suddenly banned.

Also read: Same party, Trump remains as threatening as ever

While Facebook’s independent supervisory board is set to decide on Wednesday whether or not the former U.S. president can make a comeback, here are the milestones in his often troubled relationship with social media.

Not moderation

At the time of his comment, Donald Trump had more than 88 million followers on Twitter and 35 million on Facebook. He used his personal accounts more than official accounts, even to make political statements.

His critics accuse the former president of repeatedly violating platform rules regarding hate content without submitting to moderation until the last months of his presidency.

He himself banned people who criticized him on Twitter, leading to legal action. In 2019, a court ruled that his personal account was indeed a “public forum” to allow all votes to be expressed.

Exceptions

Until last year, the major social networks had largely rejected calls to remove Mr Trump’s inflammatory and often misleading posts, saying that even if he broke the rules, his comments should still be available for the public to see. .

The American leader did not cease to discredit the dominant programs, accusing them often of being politically oriented. But he also invited Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to a private dinner at the White House in 2019, raising doubts about the billionaire’s supposed preferential treatment by the social media giant.

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Warnings

In 2020, Facebook and Twitter began applying warning notifications to certain messages from Donald Trump.

Last June, Facebook, for example, removed an ad from Donald Trump using a Nazi symbol, the inverted triangle. The social network also deleted one of its comments saying that the United States “learned to live” with seasonal influenza “in the same way that we learned to live with Covid”, indicating that the latter was “much less fatal.”

Twitter hidden the post, forcing users to click on it to view it.

Other major platforms also gradually strengthened their moderation with the former head of state.

Things get worse

After much procrastination during the presidential campaign, in which Mr Trump was seen as a major source of disinformation, mainstream platforms took more decisive action in the wake of his supporters’ rampage during the Capitol invasion on January 6.

“Les événements choquants des dernières 24 heures démontrent clairement que le président Donald Trump a l’intention d’utiliser le temps qui lui reste pour saper la transition pacifique du pouvoir à son successeur élu, Joe Biden», a écrit Mark Zuckerberg sur sa page FB. Twitter followed the same path, but founder Jack Dorsey acknowledged some responsibility for letting the situation escalate.

“Blocking an account has real and important consequences,” Dorsey said in a series of tweets about his decision to permanently ban Donald Trump.

While defending the billionaire’s suspension, the Twitter boss admitted it represented a “failure” and a “dangerous precedent.”

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