Trump’s blog flop proves it’s not free speech he’s upset; But Free Reach
of it is-the-public department
A week ago, we wrote on Trump’s new blog, designed to vaguely sound like a tweet, noting that it proved he never needed Twitter or Facebook to speak freely. He has always been able to express himself on his own website. NBC News now has an interesting story, suggesting the blog is just not getting as much attention.
A week after the unveiling, social media data suggests things are not going well.
The ex-president’s blog has attracted a considerably smaller audience than his once-powerful social media accounts, according to engagement data compiled with BuzzSumo, a social media analytics company. The data suggests that while Trump remains a political force, his online footprint still hinges on returning to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Donald J. Trump’s office is limited – users can’t comment or engage with the actual posts beyond sharing them on other platforms, an action few do, according to the data.
Some have used this to claim that the Twitter and Facebook bans on the former president were attacks on his “free speech.” But it actually demonstrates something different – and important. Not everyone who complains about the deletion of Trump’s account in fact crazy about the “free speech” part of it. They really are crazy about “free reach”. (Hat tip to Renee DiResta for making this point years ago).
Getting kicked from these platforms by the platforms (as opposed to, say, the government) is not an attack on your ability to speak. There are many places to do this. It is, on the contrary, a attack to have easy access to an audience on these platforms. And, as far as I know, there is no right to have as large an audience as possible. So in the same sense that I can’t demand a million subscribers on any of these platforms, the former president can’t demand that they provide him with the audience of their users either.
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Filed Under: access, audience, content moderation, Donald Trump, open access, freedom of expression
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