The decision by Facebook on Wednesday to keep former President Donald J. Trump off its platform could have significant consequences for his political operation as he tries to remain the leader of the Republican Party, thwarting his ability to amplify his message to tens of millions of followers and hampering his fund-raising ability.
Facebook has increasingly become one of the most vital weapons in a political campaign’s arsenal, with its ability to juice small-dollar online-fund-raising numbers into the millions, expand and acquire contact information, help build out data on a campaign’s voter file and provide the most sophisticated advertising platform available.
Few campaigns had tapped into Facebook’s potential for advertising and fund-raising as aggressively as Mr. Trump’s. His successful 2016 campaign said its prolific use of Facebook had allowed it to send millions of different, hyper-targeted political ads to small slices of the population.
“Facebook was the method,” Brad Parscale, the Trump campaign manager in 2020 and digital director in 2016, told “60 Minutes” in 2017. “It was the highway which his car drove on.”
That continued in 2020, as his re-election operation devoted a nine-figure budget to Facebook advertising. And much like he did with his Twitter account, Mr. Trump often turned to Facebook’s advertising platform in times of political crisis. [Continue reading…]