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Why Trump’s new blog could lead to more social media takedowns

Former President Donald Trump launched a new blog Tuesday to get his message out to users, a task that’s been complicated by his bans from Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. But the move could actually also lead to more takedowns of his remarks online.

Most major platforms prohibit users from circumventing their suspensions by turning to alternative accounts to put up posts. Those rules prompted Twitter and Facebook to take action earlier this year against posts they said sought to skirt around Trump’s January suspensions, including ones by his campaign account and his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump.

Now, Trump has launched a web page making it easier for users to post his remarks verbatim to both Facebook and Twitter, and it could lead to more run-ins with the social media companies policies.

A Twitter spokesperson told POLITICO in a statement Tuesday that sharing content from Trump’s new site — “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump” — generally “is permitted as long as the material does not otherwise violate the Twitter Rules.”

But, the spokesperson said, sharing posts from the site will break Twitter’s rules against ban evasions if users try to imitate Trump’s account and their “sole intent is to replace a suspended account.” A Facebook spokesperson did not return a request for comment on how the platform will handle users sharing Trump’s blog messages on its site. But both sides could soon have to make calls on posts originating from the blog that test its policies against circumventing suspensions.

After Trump’s personal account was permanently banned from Twitter on Jan. 8, the company later kicked off his campaign Twitter account for posting messages identical to those posted by Trump’s personal account. It also removed a series of tweets posted by the White House’s official account that also mirrored Trump’s posts.

Facebook separately in March removed a video posted by Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump that contained the former president’s voice, according to news reports, an action it said it took “in line with the block placed on Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.”

The launch of Trump’s new blog arrives a day before Facebook’s oversight board is set to rule on whether his account should be reinstated.

The new blog doesn’t have anything close to the reach of Facebook, the 2.7-billion-member social network that suspended his account indefinitely after a throng of his supporters rampaged through the Capitol on Jan. 6. It’s far less elaborate than the possible new social media network that Trump and his advisers have been teasing for months.

Still, it’s a limited step toward allowing the former president to air his musings and opinions directly to his supporters. His posts so far include one calling Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) a “stone cold loser,” and a slick video Tuesday that proclaims his platform a “Beacon of Freedom” and a “Place to Speak Freely and Safely” — although the site does not allow readers to reply back or communicate among themselves.

One senior Trump adviser indicated that the portal is only the beginning of his online comeback.

“President Trump’s website is a great resource to find his latest statements and highlights from his first term in office, but this is not a new social media platform,” tweeted Jason Miller, a longtime adviser. “We’ll have additional information coming on that front in the very near future.”

The launch arrives as Trump faces the prospect of being muzzled yet again by a major tech platform on Wednesday morning, when Facebook’s oversight board is expected to rule on whether company must reinstate his account or can keep him off the site for good.

The Facebook decision could deal a massive blow to Trump’s ability to communicate with followers, or it could bolster his grip on the GOP by widening his reach after spending months in relative digital isolation. The ruling is also expected to reverberate across social media, where Trump for years has tested the boundaries of what’s permissible by posting incendiary remarks and misleading or false statements. Platforms like Twitter and YouTube have also barred him from posting in the wake of the Jan. 6 assault.

But now he has his own platform-of-sorts, which appears on the same longstanding website — — that he uses to raise money and sell MAGA gear.

The posts that appear on the new site thus far largely appear to be a collection of the press release statements he has issued in recent days via his other channels, including his Save America PAC.

Posted atop the page is a 30-second launch video hyping the project. “In a time of silence and lies, a beacon of freedom arises, a place to speak freely and safely, straight from the desk of Donald J. Trump,” text displayed on the clip reads.

Visitors are able to “like” Trump’s messages, as well as repost them to Facebook and Twitter, though it does not appear to allow users to comment on or otherwise engage with the posts.

As such, they’re much closer to the blogs or collections of past news releases that many politicians have long had on their official websites than a true rival platform to the tech giants Trump and his allies frequently rail against.

Conservatives have contended that social media companies are biased against them, a charge the companies deny, and have tried to set up several alternatives they believe are friendlier to free speech. Trump has also discussed joining alternative platforms popular among conservatives, such as Parler, according to news reports.

The portal was widely panned online by people in the tech industry.

“He’s launching a blog … Revolutionary,” quipped Nu Wexler, a former communications official at Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Alex Stamos, Facebook’s former security chief, tweeted a meme mocking the move that read, “You don’t need a content policy if your platform has no content.”

Trump has recently begun stepping up his public presence, both in terms of the statements put out by his office and the number of interviews he has granted to friendly conservative media outlets. And his allies are ramping up another attempt to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) — who voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 riots and who remains fiercely critical of the GOP standard-bearer — from her House Republican leadership position.

The former president has vowed to remain a powerbroker within the Republican Party and has not ruled out a third presidential run, a departure from other recent presidents who typically step back from politics after their time in the White House.

Fox News first reported on Trump’s venture, describing it as a “a communications platform.”

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