It’s no secret former President Donald Trump has a fraught relationship with social media. While leaders have historically opted to address the public through press briefings and polished statements, Trump’s time as president was marked by his unfiltered tweets. Whether breaking news, conducting diplomacy, or feuding with critics, Trump was a prolific tweeter, but that all ended when Twitter permanently suspended his account on January 8, 2021.
“After a close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” the platform wrote in a statement. The announcement referred to the violence on January 6, 2021, when ex-President Trump gave a speech that incited a mob of supporters to storm the Capitol.
Following the incident, other social media channels followed Twitter’s example, including YouTube and Twitch, and either banned or limited Trump’s posts. At the time, TechCrunch reported that Trump attempted to circumvent the block by tweeting under his official government account @POTUS, though “‘the tweets were deleted within minutes by Twitter.” As of this writing, it appears Trump may have found another way to get around his social media ban by launching a web page, according to Daily Mail. But what’s the deal with his new website?
Has Trump found a way to circumvent his social media bans?
Per Daily Mail, Donald Trump’s new website is titled, “From the desk of Donald J. Trump,” and aligns with his preferred informal method for addressing supporters by allowing fans to repost his statements to their respective Facebook and Twitter feeds. To communicate with these supporters, the site includes a sign-up list where users can enter their phone numbers and email addresses to receive alerts whenever Trump posts a new message. Though it doesn’t appear to use advertisers, there is a link to donate to Trump’s Save America PAC.
The site, donaldjtrump.com/desk, launched with a promotional video declaring itself “a beacon of freedom” and “a place to speak freely and safely,” according to Daily Mail. The promo also appears to associate Democrats with social media censorship by including past audio from President Biden’s White House adviser Susan Rice, who previously called on voters to “remove Donald Trump and consign those who supported him in the Senate to the trash heap of history.”
The timing of the site is no coincidence. It comes just after the Oversight Board ruled on May 5, 2021 that Trump’s ban from Facebook and Instagram has been upheld. The board explained their reasoning on Twitter (ironically), writing that, “Trump’s posts during the Capitol riot severely violated Facebook’s rules and encouraged and legitimized violence.” Currently, both Twitter and Facebook allow links to the site, but it’s unclear how long that might last.
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