In less than 30 days, former President Donald Trump’s blog failed and was pulled offline after garnering exceptionally low traffic. Given that Trump is currently banned or suspended from major social media platforms, his ability to spread misinformation and extreme rhetoric to millions of users online now depends on Facebook’s upcoming decision on whether to permanently ban or reinstate his account.
After pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol on January 6, social media platforms took action against Trump’s accounts, fearing that he would incite further violence. Twitter and Snapchat permanently banned him, while Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube indefinitely suspended him.
On May 4, Trump launched his blog, which his spokesperson touted as “a great resource to find his latest statements and highlights from his first term in office.” But in less than a month, the blog was pulled after reportedly “attracting fewer visitors than the pet-adoption service Petfinder and the recipe site Delish,” according to The Washington Post.
Although Trump and his team may have envisioned the new blog as a replacement for his inaccessible social media platforms, the low level of engagement demonstrates the unparalleled value of having an active Facebook page. Even shares of the blog to other social media platforms, including Facebook, were miniscule.
For example, in addition to posting links to the blog and its posts, pro-Trump pages and public and private groups were trying to spread his messaging and misinformation on Facebook by sharing photos and text from his statements.
These attempts at amplifying Trump on Facebook were largely ineffective. Using CrowdTangle, Media Matters found that public posts linking to or mentioning Trump’s blog earned an average of only 38 interactions each, while those attempting to share text directly from Trump’s blog earned an average of only 135 interactions per post.
Engagement on these posts also pales in comparison to engagement on posts from Trump’s account. Trump’s 6,081 posts that he created between January 1, 2020, and January 6, 2021, when he was suspended, earned over 927 million interactions, or an average of roughly 152,000 interactions per post. And because Facebook left his page active during the suspension, his posts have continued to earn engagement since January. In fact, his last Facebook post had 1.9 million interactions on January 10, a few days after he was suspended, and it has since earned roughly an additional half-million interactions.
Facebook is currently deciding whether to reinstate Trump’s account or permanently ban him. If Trump’s pattern of posting both prior to the ban and afterward, on his blog, is any indication of his behavior if reinstated, then he will misuse the platform and continue to push extreme rhetoric and dangerous misinformation to the public.