This means that losing access to mainstream platforms will shrink his audience and dilute the reach of his statements, as evidenced by the deplatforming of far-right figures like Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos. Yiannopoulos, who was banned in 2016 for his repeated racist abuse of actress Leslie Jones, complained about the effect of deformity on his income.
“Part of the reason is that people just don’t remember going to other websites,” says Joan Donovan, director of research at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Science. public policy. Donovan, a regular contributor to MIT Technology Review, points out that mainstream platforms have incorporated “bells and whistles” designed to minimize friction and make interacting with content as easy as possible. If Trump were limited to a niche service with limited design and functionality, like Speak, she said, it would create an additional barrier to sharing its content.
Communication via proxies, with smaller follow-ups
Even during @ realdonaldtrump’s day-long absence on Twitter, he was not entirely silent on the platform. On Thursday, while the president was still unable to post from his personal account, White House social media director Dan Scavino tweeted a statement from the president who conceded the election – but did not acknowledge his claim that the election was stolen. He was picked up by the media, but with 40,000 retweets and 100,000 likes, he was well below the hundreds of thousands who typically engage with each of Trump’s own missives.
As a result, these are “casual supporters” that Trump is most likely to lose if he is banned permanently, Brooking says; they “will hear from him less frequently” which could mean that “over time they may become less attached to the conspiracy theories and lies that he has become accustomed to spreading.”
Of course, it depends on who he speaks through. Much of his misinformation about voter fraud, for example, came from a larger “content creation network,” Donovan says; that is, individuals close to the president who each have strong supporters including Rudy Giuliani, Sydney Powell and Lin Wood among others. “It’s the accounts that worry me the most, because it’s the people who are incentivized … because they profit from it.”
Trump’s ‘digital media empire’ could also be blocked
One way to lose his perch on major social media sites could be for Trump to create his own systems for speaking directly to supporters. The campaign app for his failed re-election campaign, for example, had its own news and notification system who often shared questionable or disproved stories that emphasized the chairman’s talking points.