- The Trump campaign has accused major social platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, of censorship in recent weeks after they’ve taken action against some of the president’s policy-violating posts.
- The Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump campaign is considering ways to reach supporters and work around these restrictions, a dire situation internally described as “code red.”
- With Election Day just over four months away, campaign officials are reportedly looking into a few options: moving to a smaller platform emphasizing free expression, like Gab and Parler; building its own social platform; and encouraging supporters to migrate to the campaign’s own smartphone app.
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The Trump campaign is reportedly scrambling to find an alternative social network to connect with supporters, free from the restrictions Facebook and Twitter have put on some the president’s content.
The decision, being weighed with Election Day just over four months away, has internally been referred to as a “code red” situation, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
According to the Journal, the Trump campaign is considering three options: moving to a lesser-know social network, building its own platform, or encouraging supporters to migrate to the campaign’s own smartphone app. Politico reported last year that Trump’s campaign officials were checking out Parlay, a platform with an emphasis on free expression that has attracted radical supporters and extreme right-wing personalities who have been kicked off Facebook and Twitter. Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale posted a link last week on Twitter to his Parler post, along with the tweet: “Hey @twitter, your days are numbered.”
—Brad Parscale (@parscale) June 19, 2020
The decision to abandon these major social platforms would mean the campaign could lose a key piece of its social media strategy, and be forced to find another way to reach the millions of voters and supporters on those networks. His campaign has reportedly already spent nearly $20 million this year on Facebook ads, and Twitter has long acted Trump’s platform of choice — he’s tweeted more than 17,000 times since taking office in 2016.
The Trump campaign stepped up its offensive against social platforms just last month as unprecedented steps were taken to monitor the president’s posts. Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat have all taken actions in recent weeks against some of the president’s content, which the Trump administration has decried as censorship and met with retaliatory efforts.
Trump issued an executive order targeting social media companies and threatened to “shut down” Twitter if he could legally do so after Twitter fact-checked two of the president’s tweets in May about voting-by-mail. Since then, Twitter slapped a warning label on a Trump post for “glorifying violence” against police-brutality protesters, labeled a Trump tweet mocking CNN as “manipulated media” (and later removed it), and restricted another tweet for “abusive behavior.”
Facebook in the last week has removed a Trump campaign ad featuring a Nazi symbol and Trump’s doctored CNN video. Snapchat said earlier this month it would stop promoting Donald Trump’s social media account on Discover, but Trump’s account is still public on the platform.
Although a few high-profile actions taken on Trump posts have angered the administration, the overwhelming majority of his posts on Facebook and Twitter have remained untouched. Facebook has refused to take action on Trump’s post threatening violence against protesters — the same post Twitter restricted — which caused a revolt among employees. Critics have taken aim at Facebook for not doing enough and slammed CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has repeatedly defended the company’s decision not to censor posts in the name of free speech.