Media Matters

The January 6 committee just reaffirmed why Trump shouldn’t be allowed back on social media

During today’s hearing, a January 6 rioter revealed the extent to which Trump and his social media posts influenced his actions, and the House select committee aired testimony from a former Twitter employee who admitted that the platform took a hands-off approach to former President Donald Trump. The testimonies highlight the real-life harm of Trump’s social media use – which the former president has never once apologized for.

Elon Musk says he would let Trump back on Twitter. History shows us why that’s dangerous.

During an interview at the Financial Times’ Future of the Car conference earlier today, Elon Musk — who has a pending deal with Twitter to buy the company — announced that he would “reverse the perma-ban” currently preventing former President Donald Trump from using the platform. Musk’s comments ignore both Trump’s previous social media behavior, in which he regularly pushed harmful misinformation and extreme rhetoric, and his continued promotion of election misinformation that incited the January 6, 2021, insurrection. Musk also revealed his fundamental lack of understanding of how much Trump’s presence on these social media platforms helped push misinformation to a large audience.

Facebook’s oversight board puts the power back in the platform’s hands to decide Trump’s fate. History tells us that’s dangerous.

The Facebook Oversight Board just announced its decision to uphold the suspension of former President Donald Trump in response to his actions on January 6. But the board ruled that Facebook should not have imposed “the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension” and the platform now must “decide the appropriate penalty” for the former president within the next six months.

With this decision, the board has recognized the harm that Trump caused by using the platform to promote misinformation and harmful rhetoric, but has also chosen to put Trump’s fate back in Facebook’s hands. And given the platform’s track record, we’re not optimistic Facebook will make the right decision.

Roughly a quarter of Trump’s posts on Facebook in 2020 contained COVID-19 misinformation, election lies, or extreme rhetoric about his critics

Before Facebook finally took action against former President Donald Trump’s account for inciting violence on January 6, it long allowed him to use the platform to push misinformation to a broad audience, vilify his critics, and contribute to increased public distrust of institutions.

Media Matters analyzed the 6,081 Facebook posts Trump made between January 1, 2020, and January 6, 2021, when Facebook suspended his account, and we found that roughly a quarter of these posts contained misinformation, content warranting an additional information label, or harmful rhetoric about others.