Former President Trump fired back at Facebook over its decision to suspend his account until at least 2023, blasting the tech giant for “censoring and silencing” the 45th president and vowed revenge to the CEO, Mark Zuckerberg “next time” he’s at the White House — dropping the strongest hint yet to date that he is definitely running in 2024.
In a pair of statements, Trump called the ruling from Facebook “an insult” to all the 75 million-plus Americans who voted for him.
“Facebook’s ruling is an insult to the record-setting 75M people, plus many others, who voted for us in the 2020 Rigged Presidential Election,” Trump said in an email statement released by his Save America PAC.
“They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing, and ultimately, we will win,” Trump added. “Our country can’t take this abuse anymore!”
In a follow-up email statement, Trump vowed once he is re-elected come 2024, he will not honor “at his request” to host Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife at the White House, emphasizing that he would strictly keep the relationship between the two as “all business.”
“Next time I’m in the White House, there will be no more dinners, at his request, with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife. It will be all business!” Trump said in the second email statement.
Facebook on Friday announced its long-awaited decision to suspend the former president accounts for at least two years until Jan. 7, 2023. The social media company warned that once Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts were reinstated after the imposed suspension date, he would be subject to “strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions” if he violates the company’s rules again.
“Of course, this penalty only applies to our services — Mr. Trump is and will remain free to express himself publicly via other means,” Facebook said.
The former president was kicked off most big tech media platforms following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. However, Facebook imposed just an “indefinite suspension” and would let its oversight board decide whether to officially ban or reinstate the former president’s accounts. Last summer, the tech giant created the Independent Oversight Board and was reported to be the only social media company to have any sort of form of an internet governance body that cost the company over $130 million to fund the board.
Last month, Trump launched a new online communication platform within his website to “freely and safely” communicate directly to his supporters. While the platform currently didn’t have a “reply” button feature for Trump’s die-hard supporters and haters to engage or post comments on his posts, it did have the ability to allow users to share a link of his post to their own Twitter or Facebook accounts.
However, Trump recently shut down his online page this week due to low daily interactions from desktop and mobile devices. According to the Washington Post, interactions of posts on Trump’s webpage dropped significantly in the weeks after it was launched. On the first day, it saw over 159,000 total social media interactions after it was officially launched on May 4. Since then, interactions dropped to 30,000 interactions the following day and never surpassed over 15,000 interactions per day since the first-day peak.
Trump’s webpage received about 4 million visits the week ending May 18 from both desktop and mobile devices, according to social media data firm BuzzSumo and Facebook-tracking tool CrowdTangle.
The move throws a strain on Trump’s ability to utilize Facebook to rake in campaign contribution funds for any Republican candidate he backs in a primary challenge or those running for re-election in the 2022 midterm elections. Though Trump frequently used Twitter as his go-to social media platform to share his breaking news message, he effectively used Facebook’s online fundraising money in the 2016 election, using digital ads that were low-cost to send to potential voters.
“Trump would have remained the easiest quick ticket to fundraising success for the candidates he endorsed, and they would’ve been able to run those ads on Facebook and Instagram to drive pretty quick donating success among trump supporters,” Bret Jacobson, President of conservatives Red Edge, a digital advocacy agency said in an interview with USA Today. “At this point, Republicans will have to probably pivot more to issue-focused messaging and drawing clear distinctions between themselves and their opponents.”
“He was able to go from dark horse to leader within the GOP in near-record time based on using a platform much better than any of his rivals ever had,” Jacobson added.