Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters
UPDATE, JUNE 5:
Facebook says its ban on Donald Trump’s posts will last until at least January 2023.
The company said it will then consult experts to decide “whether the risk to public safety has receded”. Trump was banned after comments inciting the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
Nick Clegg, Facebook’s Vice President of Global Affairs, wrote, “Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols.”
ORIGINAL ENTRY, JUNE 3: Donald Trump said in May that his new blog would take over social media, filling the vacuum left by his suspension from Twitter and Facebook.
On Wednesday, the blog disappeared.
“From the Desk of Donald J. Trump” was killed off after Trump heard from friends that the site was getting little traffic, making him look small and irrelevant.
The site, set up by Trump’s former digital campaign manager Brad Parscale, was to be an online hub to publicize his statements and to highlight communication with supporters.
A video proclaimed, “In a time of silence and lies, a beacon of freedom arises. A place to speak freely and safely. Straight from the desk of Donald J. Trump.”
But days after its launch, The Washington Post reported that the site had “a staggeringly small audience”, with less traffic than the pet-adoption service Petfinder and the recipe site Delish. “Trump Is Sliding Towards Online Irrelevance,” the paper headlined.
Trump then downgraded the significance of the initiative: “This is meant to be a temporary way of getting my thoughts and ideas out to the public without the Fake News spin, but the website is not a ‘platform’. It is merely a way of communicating until I decide on what the future will be for the choice or establishment of a platform.”
Last weekend, the site crashed after Trump pushed lies about the election “audit” in Arizona, insisting that it provides proof of last November’s “stolen” election.
The site now only has an archive of Trump’s media releases, every one titled “Statement by Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America”, and a link to an online shop for Trump merchandise.
Trump advisor Jason Miller, who had hailed the blog as a revolutionary breakthrough in politics, maintained on Twitter that Trump will still be pursuing another social media platform: “Stay tuned!”
Trump staff declared that they are devoting themselves to a Trump-focused social network, echoing a pronouncement by Trump early this year as he railed against “Big Tech”.
Engagement on social media around Trump has collapsed 95% since January and is its lowest level since 2016.
But he and his inner circle still have influence — and even control — in Washington and in state legislatures over the Republican Party. Last week GOP Senators blocked any independent investigation of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, incited by Trump’s disinformation about the election and call on supporters to block Congressional approval of President-elect Joe Biden.