Wednesday, January 25, 2023


Elon Musk unfroze Donald Trump's Twitter two months ago, and now Trump is planning his delayed return. And we learned today that Meta has decided to reinstate Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts.

On Twitter, I assume Trump will be allowed to tweet pretty much anything short of overt Nazi content. Twitter claims to have content standards, but everyone knows that the standards are arbitrarily determined by Musk on the fly, under the influence of the edgelord right-wing influencers he hopes will tell him he's cool. So Trump will get to post offensive and dangerously untruthful content on Twitter, no one will stop him, and we'll just get used to it.

But Meta insists that it plans to hold Trump to published standards.
... we will be reinstating Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks. However, we are doing so with new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.

Like any other Facebook or Instagram user, Mr. Trump is subject to our Community Standards. In light of his violations, he now also faces heightened penalties for repeat offenses — penalties which will apply to other public figures whose accounts are reinstated from suspensions related to civil unrest under our updated protocol. In the event that Mr. Trump posts further violating content, the content will be removed and he will be suspended for between one month and two years, depending on the severity of the violation.
Here's the part of Meta's press release that jumped out at me:
Our updated protocol also addresses content that does not violate our Community Standards but that contributes to the sort of risk that materialized on January 6, such as content that delegitimizes an upcoming election or is related to QAnon. We may limit the distribution of such posts, and for repeated instances, may temporarily restrict access to our advertising tools. This step would mean that content would remain visible on Mr. Trump’s account but would not be distributed in people’s Feeds, even if they follow Mr. Trump. We may also remove the reshare button from such posts, and may stop them being recommended or run as ads.
Of course Trump will post "content that delegitimizes an upcoming election or is related to QAnon." He's been posting QAnon-related content on Truth Social, and he played a QAnon song at a September rally. He'll delegitimize upcoming elections by continuing to argue that the 2020 election was illegitimate and the alleged problems of 2020 haven't been solved. And probably, just to stir the pot, he'll declare that we need to worry about rigging in this year's elections -- for instance, the upcoming elections that will decide the composition of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

If he's suspended, or the reach of his posts is curtailed, right-wingers will throw a fit. If he isn't, the rest of us will.

This is very bad news for Ron DeSantis.

Trump has clearly lost his mojo. He endorsed many failed midterm candidates. His NFT announcement was widely mocked. He doesn't seem to have the energy to hold rallies.

But I assume his thumbs still work. He still has the energy to sit on his toilet and post inflammatory words.

And now we'll all pay attention again. If he gets away with irresponsible posts while we express rage, he's owned the libs. If he's disciplined by the social media companies, that's a Trump grievance. Either way, he rallies the angry GOP voter base.

Ron DeSantis, according to a new Daily Beast story, is paying B-list right-wing influencers to promote his social media posts. Trump, by contrast, can get everyone in the mainstream media to promote his posts for free. Advantage: Trump.

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