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?

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Comments on “Data Analysis Shows That Trump's Messages Still Received Tons Of Attention; Though His Disinformation Doesn't Travel As Far”

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41 Comments
Kobysays:

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?

The internet is designed to eliminate gatekeepers. The people doing the rebroadcasting are no doubt willing to repost the more benign messages, but are fearful of being excommunicated by the Internet Inqisition should they repost anything controversial. Such is the life of an early reformer. An actual free marketplace allows EVERYONE to decide, not just a few.

Stephen T. Stonesays:

Re:

The internet is designed to eliminate gatekeepers.

Yes or no, Koby: Do you believe the government should have the legal right to compel any privately owned interactive web service into hosting legally protected speech that the owners/operators of said service don?t want to host? Please note that for the purposes of this discussion, the owners/operators of said service are ?gatekeepers?, which you believe the Internet is designed to eliminate.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:

Please note that for the purposes of this discussion, the owners/operators of said service are ?gatekeepers?, which you believe the Internet is designed to eliminate.

There’s nothing about the internet that requires speech to be hosted on centralized services by "gatekeepers". That’s just a really easy way to do it.

It’s basically true that the internet was designed to be redundant and decentralized, which kind of rules out "gatekeepers"?but that’s a misleading statement: services such as Facebook are not "the Internet", they just run on top of it, and the design of the Internet has nothing to say about how services running on top of it should be managed. (Many users of the ARPANET were, after all, connecting to centralized telnet and FTP servers run by often mercurial administrators.)

Anyway, your constant commenting about "but should the government force [whoever] to do [whatever]?" is little more than a disingenuous "otherwording" that mischaracterizes other people’s views. It’s entirely possible for one to believe that communication "should" work in some alternate way, without believing that governments should force it into existence or outlaw all others. Facebook sucks, and they have the legal right to suck. They only control free speech to the extent the public lets them.

Stephen T. Stonesays:

Re: Re: Re:

First thing?s first:

your constant commenting about "but should the government force [whoever] to do [whatever]?"

Stop stealing Orange Cassidy?s gimmick.

Now that the pro wrestling reference is out of the way?

is little more than a disingenuous "otherwording" that mischaracterizes other people’s views

No, it isn?t.

Every time I bust out that question (thank you PhraseExpress macros), I do it because someone???typically Koby, which is why I have that question macro?d to that name???has expressed an opinion or idea that suggests they believe the government should, in some capacity, compel a privately owned service to host some kind of content. In Koby?s case, he has continually talked about repealing or ?fixing? 230 and the supposed ?censorship? of conservative views (though he never explains which ones?) and how a service like Twitter should be ?apolitical? in re: the speech it chooses to host.

The question is a straight-to-the-point yes-or-no question for a reason: If he truly believes in the ideas he espouses, he should have no problem answering ?yes????and if he doesn?t believe the government should force speech onto interactive web services, he should have no problem saying ?no?. But he continually deflects from that One Simple Question (and numerous others along those lines) because to answer it directly would expose his beliefs, and he?d prefer to use dogwhistles instead of a bullhorn.

The question is simple and gets right to the heart of every discussion about repealing 230, enacting some sort of Fairness Doctrine for social media, and other discussions along those lines. I don?t assume that the question represents the beliefs of those to whom the question is posed???unless they refuse to answer or deflect the question with some bullshit. Anyone unafraid to say ?no? (or ?yes?!) would speak their answer, unqualified and direct and to the point. Anyone afraid to directly say ?yes?, on the other hand?well, let?s say that refusing to answer, or deflecting the question, is itself an answer???and it says more about them than a simple ?yes? ever could.

Whatever Koby actually believes, I can only assume from his comment history and his devout refusal to directly answer my yes-or-no questions about his beliefs. The onus to clear up any faulty assumptions is on him. His continued refusal to do that is his problem, his burden, his responsibility???not mine. I can?t solve it for him. Neither can you.

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Anyway, your constant commenting about "but should the government force [whoever] to do [whatever]?" is little more than a disingenuous "otherwording" that mischaracterizes other people’s views."

It really isn’t. Koby has been long outed as the soft-spoken representative of a certain type of views normally only held in forums such as Stormfront.

And the trend of his discourse whenever free speech comes up is a fundamentally disingenious claim that as long as a private forum is sufficiently popular, government should seize control of it by forcing the owner to abstain from their right to evict people.

In summary Koby wants the online bar to stop tossing out his nazi friends and keeps advocating for government to legislate against the bar owner’s right to do that.

Stephen T. Stone’s repetitive question underlines that what Koby keeps advocating for is for government to seize the means of production for what Koby refers to as the common good, in order to compel speech.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

The internet is designed to eliminate gatekeepers.

His blog eliminated all of them, and yet, it’s in the shit pile because no one wanted to go to it. Sounds like a Trump business venture working as expected, no?

An actual free marketplace allows EVERYONE to decide, not just a few.

Sounds like the free market decided. I mean, I didn’t visit that site – that was my decision. Tell me, shit-for-brains, why didn’t more of you ardent freeze peach supporters go there and keep it afloat? He failed because of you dumb fucks not supporting him (and because let’s face it, he’s a fucking idiot).

That One Guysays:

Re: Re:

Sounds like the free market decided.

That’s the funny part of him breaking out that argument because the market has indeed decided and it’s decided that the majority of people aren’t interested in the garbage his side wallows in which is why they keep trying to force their way onto platforms that a majority of people have decided to use because they keep throwing assholes out.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

That’s the funny part of him breaking out that argument because the market has indeed decided

Perhaps that’s the real problem – you would think if Trump had so much support, a blog of his own would’ve been a slam dunk. The fact that it wasn’t implies that people who wouldn’t have otherwise bothered to care what he said might’ve only followed him to troll him, or because they might’ve thought he had something important to say since he was the POTUS (and he could only communicate in 240-character sentences).

I guess it never occurred to folks like Koby that no one gives a shit what he has to say now that he’s largely irrelevant. Well, that along with those that are just disappointed with him after that Jan 6th stunt, either because he didn’t pardon the morons who livestreamed their felonies, or because it came to what it did at all.

I don’t know about anyone else, but the dumb fucks on my friends list that are stupid enough to be Trump supporters seem to have taken down all their ‘Civil War 2.0’ and Oath Keepers bullshit now that it’s obvious that he hung the real morons out to dry.

Bloofsays:

Re: Re:

The internet is a free market place, anyone can make a website but what you cannot do is force people to use it who do not want to, or have your personal desire to yell racism and lies at the largest possible audience override the rights of the owners of other websites to set their terms of service.

Websites exist where you can spout the kind of ‘free speech’ you value so dearly, 8Chan, 4Chan, Gab, Stormfront and so on, the problem is that the free market that conservatives like yourself so value, has ruled against the. People don’t like racism, sexism, homophobia, antisemitism so their userbase never grows beyond a certain point, and that’s something the right are aware of. You can’t grow a userbase when new users are bombarded with unfiltered slurs and abuse, hence the right’s ridiculous attacks on ‘safe spaces’ and trying to destroy the ability of sites to moderate their platforms.

Bloofsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Republicans like Koby now support things being nationalised as they know when republicans next have control they can either pack them with lifetime political appointees, cripple their ability to regulate and do what they’re meant to, or use them as a means to funnel money and influence towards their friends, family and donors, just look at what they did to the post office.

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

"He doesn’t mean to be a communist, but his demands are textbook."

It’s even THE textbook for communism. You really did nazi it coming that a certain ideology would be, once again, cherry-picking all the past and present blockbusters for out-of-context one-liners to adorn with odal runes and swastikas?

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: Re:

"An actual free marketplace allows EVERYONE to decide, not just a few."

And EVERYONE has more or less decided that racists, bigots and other deplorable assholes simply aren’t welcome in the private homes of most people. So what are you upset about?

Oh. With "EVERYONE" you actually meant "white privileged assholes shit-scared of the future where they can’t spit on anyone with a brown skin no more"?

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

One of the common themes with the far/alt right is that they’ve managed to convince themselves that they’re part of a silent majority that will rise up when they have their voice. When, in real life, they’re neither silent nor a majority, just a bunch of loud obnoxious scum who don’t want to believe what the actual majority are telling them when they tell them to STFU and GTFO.

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

"One of the common themes with the far/alt right is that they’ve managed to convince themselves that they’re part of a silent majority that will rise up when they have their voice."

While at the same time clinging to the belief that they are also the "chosen few". And the fact that they’ve had to learn to communicate in dogwhistles because as soon as they openly speak their minds the massive majority instantly rejects them just won’t get through to them.

Trae Crowder posited that these benighted morons are racist against math. I think he’s right.

"…just a bunch of loud obnoxious scum who don’t want to believe what the actual majority are telling them when they tell them to STFU and GTFO."

I think it has a lot to do with the average SA-member or trailer-trash klansman being a cowardly herd animal at heart. They want recognition and a sense of worth and can only achieve that by standing in a large group and spitting down on someone else. The idea they’re heavily outnumbered and that most people don’t want to be in their group just isn’t something their fragile little hearts can handle, entitled thin-skinned snowflakes that they are…

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Well, it’s no more than their online continuation of their offline long-standing strategy. I mean if it weren’t for the twisted-pretzel gerrymandering and their heavyhanded attempts to disenfranchise or discourage every non-white voter they wouldn’t ever win an election again. The reps are at 25% and rather than take the chance to build an actual platform again they choose to stick with the base that’ll never leave them as long as they keep dogwhistling the refrain of "Dixie land".

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

"I mean if it weren’t for the twisted-pretzel gerrymandering and their heavyhanded attempts to disenfranchise or discourage every non-white voter they wouldn’t ever win an election again"

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/mar/30/trump-republican-party-voting-reform-coronavirus

"Trump says Republicans would ?never? be elected again if it was easier to vote"

Of course, they know this. That’s why voter suppression, gerrymandering and the electoral college are so important to the them – a fair, proportional election would destroy them, and they can’t win based on actual ideas or fact-based platforms.

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yeah, I failed to find a link but I know there’s an older version of the same statement made by another republican bigshot in what they thought was a republican-only conference. Honestly I give that more credibility than I do anything Trump has said. Even if, to be fair, Trump may have been only slightly exaggerating when he said that.

The GOP as a party are done. They cling to power only through a tenacious hold on the dumbest, the dimmest and the most malicious among their base. And that’s not enough to obtain a majority so their default behavior now is to cheat the system or rig it in their favor instead.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Honestly I give that more credibility than I do anything Trump has said."

Trump’s said a lot of things I agree with

"I love the poorly educated"
"I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn?t lose voters"
…and so on. He might be a vain, incompetent corrupt con artist, he he does occasionally venture into truth.

"The GOP as a party are done."

We can only hope. Next year we will see what happens. The usual cycle is that when things are going well, voter turnout is lowered (especially during midterms) and due to gerrymandering, etc., this allows Republicans to gain seats. Gain enough, and they can stop anything useful from being done until they manage to grab power again in the presidency.

There’s a real risk that between the rash of voter suppression laws being passed in various states and the ability for people to resume their normal lives in the very near future (leading to laziness or apathy among casual voters), there’s going to be another influx of drooling morons who are determined to destroy everything again.

Let’s hope it doesn’t happen, but somebody’s voting for people like Gohmert and MTG, and some of them have been convinced they secretly won last time so there’s no need to change their politics.

restless94110says:

Disinfo

The term disinformation is an insult to the intelligence of any human. It is nothing more and nothing less than an excuse for censorship.

If you don’t think what someone says is true? Then don’t listen to it! It’s not disinformation. It’s simply a different point of view.

Big Brother is coming for Tech Dirt, too. Soon, you too will be accused of spreading disinformation.

Instead of acceding to it (because Trump)? You should be fighting it tooth and nail. They will come for you next.

Disinformation is a term used by totalitarians to suppress freedom of speech and expression. It is the death knell of a free society, an innovative society. The lifeblood of a dynamic society is the freedom to speak "disinformation" at any and all times.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Disinfo

The lifeblood of a dynamic society is the freedom to speak "disinformation" at any and all times.

Trump was able to via his own blog and yet he decided to shut it down. You’d think that disinformation or not, if his supporters gave anything even closely resembling a shit, the lack of traffic wouldn’t have been an issue at all.

There’s no suppression – he’s just irrelevant and doesn’t like it. Tough fucking shit.

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: Re: Disinfo

"Disinformation is a term used by totalitarians to suppress freedom of speech and expression."

This coming from the Stormfront refugee only here to expound on the virtues of white supremacy? The totalitarians are all in your court, dude.

"The lifeblood of a dynamic society is the freedom to speak "disinformation" at any and all times."

Says the man who last time this was on the table was screaming about the "l?genpresse" and "fake news" – which to you is apparently now the "lifeblood" of society.

At some point you’ll just have to face the fact that no one outside of your echo chamber of inbred bigots are going to swallow the bullshit you keep peddling. Ever. The only thing your rhetoric accomplishes is that it clearly tells everyone that you are a clumsily disingenious dipshit shilling for the Proud Boys.

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