Facebook’s continued ban on Donald Trump could end up hurting the former president’s political career, namely by hampering a potential White House run in 2024, according to analysts.
“Donald Trump raised tens of millions of dollars from grassroots supporters on Facebook alone, and his inability to use the platform would hobble any potential comeback bid for the White House,” said Kyle Tharp, senior adviser at Acronym, a progressive digital strategy shop.
“Facebook was critical to Trump’s campaigns in both 2016 and 2020. It’s a platform with algorithms that proactively push and prioritize inflammatory content, which was his specialty,” Tharp added.
It’s not clear when Trump might be allowed back on Facebook, after the Silicon Valley company blocked him from its main platform as well as Instagram in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters. Facebook’s oversight board on Wednesday upheld the decision to restrict Trump’s access, but said there must be clarity within six months on whether the ban is permanent or temporary.
Others also have emphasized Facebook’s importance.
The oversight board’s ruling “will cripple Trump’s fundraising,” said Greg Valliere, chief strategist at AGF Investments, in a note on Thursday. However, the decision has “unified the GOP against Facebook, and there may be six months of headline risk for the tech sector
before the board makes a final ruling,” Valliere added.
Brad Parscale, Trump’s digital director for his 2016 run and his campaign manager up until July 2020, once said that Facebook functioned as “the method” by which Trump won the White House race in 2016. The social network “was the highway in which his car drove on,” Parscale said in 2017.
Outside groups could offset some of the damage from Facebook’s ban on Trump by continuing to operate on the social network and engaging with his supporters, since they aren’t blocked. Such groups, including super PACs, aren’t supposed to coordinate with candidates while supporting them.
Besides remaining blocked by Facebook, Trump faces a ban of indefinite length from YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet’s Google
business, as well as a permanent Twitter
ban. But Acronym’s Tharp said Facebook’s prohibition on the 45th president is “probably the most consequential for his future prospects.”
“American voters live on Facebook,” Tharp said. “It’s where they get their news and information and spend more time scrolling than practically anywhere else.”
“It’s key for fundraising, and an important place for campaigns to build a community of grassroots supporters,” he added.
From the archives (October 2020): Trump’s advantage over Biden in spending on Facebook and Google ads — in one chart