The Flopping Of Trump's Blog Proves That It's Not Free Speech He's Upset About; But Free Reach
from the it's-the-audience dept
A week ago, we wrote about Trump’s new blog, which was designed to look vaguely tweet-like, noting that this proved that he never needed Twitter or Facebook to speak freely. He’s always been able to speak on his own website. NBC News has an interesting story now, suggesting that the blog just isn’t getting that much attention.
A week since the unveiling, social media data suggests things are not going well.
The ex-president?s blog has drawn 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 offers a hint that while Trump remains a political force, his online footprint is still dependent on returning to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
The Desk of Donald J. Trump is limited ? users can?t comment or engage with the actual posts beyond sharing them to other platforms, an action few people do, according to the data.
Some have been using this to argue that Twitter and Facebook’s bans on the former president were attacks on his “free speech.” But it actually demonstrates something different — and important. Everyone complaining about the removal of Trump’s account are not actually mad about the “free speech” part of it. They’re really mad about the “free reach.” (Hat tip to Renee DiResta for making this point years ago).
Being kicked off these platforms by the platforms (as opposed to, say, the government) is not an attack on your ability to speak. There are lots of places to do that. It is, instead, an attack on having easy access to an audience on those platforms. And, as far as I can tell, there is no right to having as large an audience as possible. Thus, in the same sense that I can’t demand a million followers on any of these platforms, the former president similarly can’t demand that they supply him with the audience of their users.