NYT Analysis of Trump’s Social Media Ban Reveals Surprising Results
The majority of Twitter users rejoiced when it was announced that Donald Trump had been completely banned from the platform after too many years of unchecked tweets inciting violence and his insistence on spreading lies about the 2020 Presidential election, among other infractions. While his supporters cried “cancel culture” or “censorship”, the overall mood of Twitter has definitely been reduced from a constant roiling boil to something akin to a more steady temperature.
But the impact of his departure across all social media platforms didn’t really have the impact on squashing his messaging the way many might have hoped, according to a new study just published by The New York Times. After mining the data, the team taking a closer look at Trump’s posts has determined that if the former guy wants something out in the public realm, he’s going to get it out there with or without social media despite his now-shuttered blog.
Since his ban and President Biden’s inauguration, he has posted statements online far less often. But some of his statements have traveled just as far and wide on social networks, according to the Times.
The controlled study examined nearly 1,600 of Trump’s social media posts from September 1, 2020, to January 8, 2021, the day Trump was banned from the platforms. They then tracked the engagement with the dozens of written statements he made on his personal website, campaign fund-raising site, and in email blasts from January 9th until May 5th, which was the day that the Facebook Oversight Board said that the company acted appropriately in banning him.
NEW – We analyzed 1,689 Trump social media posts before and after his ban from the platforms to answer the question: has he really been silenced? (Spoiler: nope! The pro-Trump ecosystem is alive and well) https://t.co/eG4RL84dXp w/ my genius colleagues @ellawinthrop @DataJacob
— Davey Alba (@daveyalba) June 7, 2021
The Times analysis looked at the 10 most popular posts with election misinformation (judged by likes and shares) from the Former Guy 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, his posts garnered 22.1 million likes and shares; after the ban, his posts earned 1.3 million likes and shares across Twitter and Facebook.
Before the ban, Trump was his own best promoter. One post from Oct. 8, which accused Joe Biden and Kamala Harris of lying “constantly,” generated about half a million total likes and shares. https://t.co/uN0DPFPsGr pic.twitter.com/agiNRNl7Z6
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 7, 2021
Check out the full analysis, including who got name-checked the most and who helped him spread his propaganda more than others, here.