Data Analysis Shows That Trump's Messages Still Received Tons Of Attention; Though His Disinformation Doesn't Travel As Far
from the what-censorship? dept
We’ve argued for a while now that social media companies removing Donald Trump’s accounts were not censorship, and that he had many other avenues where he could be heard, if he chose to use them. He showed this when he later setup his own blog, though he recently shut it down after getting upset that people were mocking it for its low traffic numbers.
But direct traffic to his blog doesn’t mean that he he wasn’t able to get his message out there. A new data analysis by the NY Times shows that, in fact, after Trump lost his social media accounts, his message spread on social media just as well as when he had his accounts. While he may not be sending out messages as frequently, or as quite as off the cuff (and unhinged), the messages he does send out seem to get plenty of attention, thanks mostly to lapdog proxies, like Breitbart and Fox News.
One thing that became immediately clear: Mr. Trump?s most ardent supporters continue to spread his message ? doing the work that he had been unable to do himself.
The top sharers of the March post included the right-wing publication Breitbart News (159,500 likes and shares), a Facebook page called ?President Donald Trump Fan Club? (48,200 likes), Fox News (42,000 likes), and Jenna Ellis (36,700 likes), a lawyer who made regular television appearances as Mr. Trump?s proxy to trumpet his debunked claims of a rigged election.
That doesn’t look like censorship to me.
Of course, it’s not true of all his posts. Somewhat interestingly, when he’s spreading direct disinformation, it doesn’t seem to spread as far:
The Times analysis looked at the 10 most popular posts with election misinformation ? judged by likes and shares ? from Mr. Trump before the social media bans, and compared them with his 10 most popular written statements containing election misinformation after the ban. All the posts included falsehoods about the election — that the process had been ?rigged,? for instance, or that there had been extensive voter fraud.
Before the ban, Mr. Trump?s posts garnered 22.1 million likes and shares; after the ban, his posts earned 1.3 million likes and shares across Twitter and Facebook.
In many, many ways, that’s fascinating. It suggests that when he’s not spreading misinformation, his messages still travel about as far as before. But when they are direct disinformation, some of the intermediation of 3rd parties creates a bit of friction. That… certainly doesn’t feel like censorship. It feels like a marketplace of ideas working kind of as it should?