Ever since Twitter and Facebook banned former U.S. President Donald Trump from their platforms in January following his repeated lies about widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, it's been harder to keep up with what he's doing. That's not necessarily a bad thing — in fact, it's absolutely blissful.
Trump typically used his social platforms to spread falsehoods and violent rhetoric about everything from the coronavirus pandemic to what was happening on the US-Mexico border to anti-racist protest movements. Now that we've seen how effective it has been for tech companies to severely limit access to their platforms for the former president, it's safe to say that de-platforming far-right politicians and activists — who spew their violent and hateful rhetoric to their eager followers online — not only works, but works really, really well. (Of course, what would be even more effective than social media de-platforming would be ensuring that far-right politicians can't dictate policy matters from the White House or any other positions of power. Sadly, Congress failed to prevent Trump from running for public office a second time when the U.S. Senate acquitted him during his second impeachment trial in February, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, Madison Cawthorn, and Lauren Boebert are still in the House of Representatives.)
Still, Trump has less of an audience than he did five years ago when he ran his first presidential campaign, and far less of one than when he was serving as president, which is only good news. Even his daughter and former senior advisor Ivanka's social media platforms have gone silent since January; though she wasn't banned from any platform, perhaps she's left them in solidarity with her father. And let's not forget, the former president's 2016 win was largely thanks to social media platforms like Facebook that helped generate millions of dollars for his campaign in online fundraising.
But, it's not all good news. Despite his limited reach, the former president is still voicing his terrible opinions — only now it's in an echo chamber of his far-right supporters, as he continues to make appearances on Fox News, where he continues to perpetuate lies about the violent 6th January attack on the U.S. Capitol. Republicans who pushed the same conspiracy theories about widespread voter fraud that ultimately led to the Capitol riot have also not yet been held accountable.
Trump also addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando earlier this month, where he spoke about uniting the Republican Party and passing new election laws. While he can't spew his violent rhetoric on social media, the GOP is still listening and following Trump's lead. Georgia became the first state to implement new voting rights restrictions this week, and Arizona, Florida, and Texas are working to pass similar restrictions.
The former president's platform may be more niche than ever, but he's also still reaching the people he needs as Republicans attempt to consolidate power following their 2020 presidential election loss. The Republican Party will have to unite under the banner of so-called Trumpism in order to win the trust — and votes — of the former president's far-right supporters.
As a result of Trump's social media de-platforming, the former president is apparently in talks with app vendors as he considers creating his own social media network, sources familiar with the plans told Axios. "I do think that we're going to see President Trump returning to social media in probably about two or three months here, with his own platform," former Trump senior adviser Jason Miller told Fox News on Sunday. It's safe to say we will not be signing up for whatever platform Trump ends up creating. We're still too busy enjoying his absence from Twitter and Facebook.