Facebook is enabling Trump's attempts to subvert democracy

It’s been a wild 24 hours on Trump’s Facebook feed in the run-up to his supporters storming the Capitol

Trump campaign's Facebook ads

Citation Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

The platform that launched President Donald Trump’s political fortunes and steadily profits from his deranged and rule-breaking behavior is abetting the poster-in-chief in his last-ditch efforts to overturn the will of the American electorate -- efforts which led a mob of his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol today, violently disrupting the certification of votes for President-elect Joe Biden. 

As Georgians headed to the polls to pick two new senators and thousands of Trump supporters flooded the streets of Washington, D.C., in hopes of changing the outcome of the presidential election, Facebook’s “No.1” user has posted dozens of times and garnered millions of interactions. 

According to CrowdTangle, between 8 a.m. EST on January 5 and 8 a.m. EST on January 6, President Trump’s top 10 Facebook posts netted more than 5.5 million total interactions -- reactions, comments, and shares. That’s an average of more than half a million interactions per post. 

Trump’s frenzied posts cast doubt on the integrity of Georgia’s Senate runoff elections, suggested that Vice President Mike Pence could unilaterally choose a winner of the presidential election, and encouraged his supporters to flood the streets in protest of Congress certifying the election results today.

Bad actors in foreign countries have famously used Facebook’s platform to spread lies and disinformation that have resulted in heinous acts of violence. Trump’s tireless effort to overturn the U.S. presidential election has been no different.  

Here’s a timeline of the president’s deranged Facebook spree and the number of interactions he amassed by early this afternoon, before his supporters and other rioters stormed the Capitol building: 

January 5, 10:16 a.m.: President Trump proudly announced that Georgia’s Republican Senate candidates, Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, have agreed to object to the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. (520,000 interactions)

January 5, 11:42 a.m.: Trump insisted that Vice President Mike Pence can unilaterally reject electors from states won by President-elect Joe Biden during the counting of Electoral College votes. (A vice presidents’ role in counting electoral votes is usually little more than ceremonial formality.)  (731,000 interactions)

January 5, 1:35 p.m.: Trump amplified a far-right radio host’s specious claim that Dominion Voting Systems machines in Georgia weren’t working properly in “Republican Strongholds.” (426,000 interactions)

January 5, 2:50 p.m.: Trump posted a picture from his Monday rally in Georgia, imploring voters to reelect the state’s incumbent Republican senators. (311,000 interactions)  

January 5, 5:17 p.m.: In his most popular Facebook post during this time, Trump praised his supporters flooding the streets of Washington and claimed they “don’t want to see an election victory stolen by emboldened Radical Left Democrats.” (894,000 interactions)

January 5, 5:18 p.m.: Trump bid Democrats and “weak and ineffective” Republicans to note the thousands of his supporters invading the capital who “won’t stand for a landslide election victory to be stolen.” (321,000 interactions)

January 5, 5:28 p.m.: Trump warned anti-fascist activists to “stay out” of Washington, suggesting they are part of a “terrorist organization” -- while his supporters gathered in the city to force Congress to invalidate the 2020 election. (499,000 interactions)

January 5, 10:03 p.m.: Trump touted a letter from Pennsylvania Republican legislators asking Congress to delay certifying the state’s election results as “BIG NEWS.” (748,000 interactions) 

January 6, 12:09 a.m.: Trump implied that election fraud was underway in Fulton County, Georgia. (535,000 interactions)

January 6, 1:23 a.m.: In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Trump inaccurately declared that Pence has the power to unilaterally invalidate states’ election results in Congress. (557,000 interactions)