Wanting to return to power with a fresh bid for the presidency in 2024, Donald Trump must first win his account back from Facebook.
Trump’s presidential campaign has formally asked Meta Platforms, Inc (Nasdaq: META), Facebook’s parent company, to reinstate his account, according to a letter reviewed by NBC News.
“We believe that the ban on President Trump’s account on Facebook has dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse,” Trump’s campaign wrote. Facebook in November said that it would stop fact-checking Trump-related content, an exemption that was triggered by the former president’s announcement that he will seek to represent the GOP at the 2024 presidential election.
The exemption is that Meta does not fact-check politicians. “It is not our role to intervene when politicians speak,” said Meta’s President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg in 2019.
Facebook played a crucial role in Trump’s 2016 campaign when they leveraged the platform’s microtargeting feature, which helped him reach out to and raise money from average joes. Facebook later reported that Trump ran 5.9 million ads, versus Hilary Clinton’s 66,000.
The former president’s 2020 run unfortunately wasn’t able to apply the same tack, as by then Facebook had already changed its rules and added a limit on high-volume advertising.
Both Facebook and Twitter banned Trump a day after the January 6 insurrection. Many of those in the mob of Trump supporters that violently attempted to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election admitted that Trump had led them to believe the election had been rigged.
Twitter had planned a permanent ban, which was later lifted by new owner Elon Musk shortly after he took over the company in late October. Trump has yet to post a tweet since he’s been back, and has kept to posting updates on his Twitter-like platform, Truth Social.
Facebook, meanwhile instituted a limited ban that would be up for review after two years, which ended on January 7 this year. As of this writing, Meta has yet to comment on the petition to lift the former president’s Facebook account. But Trump’s camp, short of admitting the limited reach of Truth Social, is intending to pull the House card to put some pressure on Meta.
“If Facebook wants to have this fight, fine, but the House is leverage, and keeping Trump off Facebook just looks political,” the adviser said, adding that House Democrats like Adam Schiff of California told Meta last month to keep Trump off Facebook.
Trump has 34 million followers on Facebook, and close to 88 million on Twitter, compared to only 4.8 million on Truth Social.
Another adviser told NBC News that Trump has been, for weeks, seeking input on his return to Twitter, with campaign advisers workshopping ideas for his first tweet back on the platform.
Interestingly, Musk’s reinstatements have not been good for at least two high-profile personalities so far. Kanye West was recently banned again after a very bizarre public meltdown that saw him posting anti-semitic tirades and a Star of David with a swastika inside. Andrew Tate, meanwhile, started a feud with Greta Thunberg, got embarrassed, and then shortly after got arrested on suspicion of running a sex-trafficking ring with his brother.
The market, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to be responding well to the news of Trump petitioning to lift his Facebook ban. Digital World Acquisition SPAC (Nasdaq: DWAC) fell 4% after reports of him returning to Facebook and Twitter surfaced.
Information for this story was found via NBC News, Seeking Alpha, Twitter, the Independent, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.