Following then-President Donald Trump’s incitement of the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, Facebook suspended him from its platform indefinitely -- a decision that was upheld by the company’s Oversight Board and later announced as a two-year suspension. But Facebook has left open loopholes that allow Trump to push his messaging on the platform, including letting him run ads for his joint fundraising committee and allowing his page to continue to earn interactions.
Media Matters latest findings about Trump’s presence on Facebook include:
- Facebook removed more than 580 ads that Trump’s joint fundraising committee has run since October 4, which had already earned 10.2 million impressions. However, Facebook has also enabled the committee to run another 350 ads since December 1, earning at least 2 million impressions.
- Based on Trump’s previous pattern of using Facebook, we estimate that his suspension kept approximately 1,400 posts with misinformation or extreme rhetoric off the platform in the year since the insurrection -- including roughly 350 posts that would likely have contained election misinformation.
- Since May 5, when Facebook’s Oversight Board upheld Trump’s suspension, his 13 posts from January 6 which remain on the platform have earned 350,000 more interactions.
Trump’s joint fundraising committee has earned millions of impressions on ads while he has been suspended from the platform
Though at least one of Trump’s efforts to evade his suspension has failed, Facebook has left open loopholes for Trump to push his messaging on the platform, including running ads for his joint fundraising committee -- which Trump’s spokesperson has called his “primary political vehicle.”
Media Matters has repeatedly reported on these ads, many of which violate Trump’s suspension from the platform. (According to Facebook, groups affiliated with Trump are allowed to run ads that don’t link to Trump’s website, include video of him speaking, or feature his voice, but many of the ads have broken these rules.)
On December 1, we reported that Trump’s joint fundraising committee had run 4,898 ads since June, earning between 37.3 and 48.2 million impressions, and earning Facebook between $841,000 and $1.5 million in revenue.
Following our reporting, the platform removed at least 587 ads, which had already received 10.2 million impressions and earned Facebook $370,000 in revenue. And yet, Facebook still allows Trump’s fundraising committee to run new ads. In fact, according to Facebook ad data from the Dewey Square Adwatch tool set, the committee has run at least 350 ads created since December 1, earning at least 2 million impressions.
These latest ads include claims that the 2020 election was “tainted” and “potentially the most corrupt in the history of our country,” suggestions that Trump is “the true president,” calls to “defend the Second Amendment” from attacks by “the Left,” and demands for his supporters to “fight for Trump.”
Trump’s Facebook page is still earning interactions on his posts, even during his suspension
Based on Trump’s previous pattern of posting on Facebook, Media Matters estimates that his suspension kept approximately 1,400 posts with misinformation or extreme rhetoric off the platform in the year since the insurrection, including roughly 350 posts that would likely have contained election misinformation.
Yet even though Trump is suspended from Facebook, the platform never took down his page -- meaning his previous posts with election misinformation (as well as other misinformation and extreme rhetoric) remain on the platform, even allowing users to still engage with the posts and share them.
In fact, Trump’s last Facebook post -- which had 1.9 million interactions on January 10, a few days after he was suspended -- has since earned roughly another 578,000 interactions.
January 10, 2021:
January 3, 2022:
Trump made an additional 12 posts on January 6, 2021, that are still active on Facebook. On May 5, when the Oversight Board upheld Trump’s suspension, these 12 posts had nearly 7 million interactions; they have since gained over 100,000 more.
According to data from CrowdTangle, Trump’s post on January 6, 2021, with video of his speech at the rally on the Ellipse -- in which he urged his supporters to march on the Capitol and “fight like hell” or else “you're not going to have a country anymore” -- had 4.5 million views on May 5 and has gained another 500,000 views since.