How social media platforms boosted Trump by banning him

By | January 9, 2022

The Wall Street Journal reports:

For an entire year, Donald Trump has been banned from mainstream social-media outlets. For the tech companies and the former president, there have been benefits.

From the business side, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube have all been able to say they took action against one of the most powerful voices on their platforms—after years of criticism that they failed to aggressively apply their rules to their highest-profile users.

Across the platforms, Mr. Trump had amassed approximately 150 million followers—including 35 million on Facebook and 88 million on Twitter—which put him among the most-watched world leaders.

But for the companies, banning his accounts hasn’t appeared to dent their traffic. Facebook and YouTube don’t report engagement for their specific units, but Twitter’s number of users has continued to climb.

Since his social-media ban—just days before he left the White House—mentions of Mr. Trump on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have decreased 88%, according to Zignal Labs, a company that analyzes content on social media.

Mr. Trump has become eager to restore his online presence and announced plans to launch his own platform. But even without the social-media tools that helped ignite his rapid political rise, Mr. Trump’s influence remains strong and in some ways has grown.

The ban has been a rallying point among the former president’s supporters. And while Mr. Trump’s poll ratings remain more negative than positive, public opinion about the former branding magnate and reality TV star has improved significantly since he was removed from social media after his supporters—echoing many of his false claims about election fraud—stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, seeking to overturn his election loss. [Continue reading…]

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