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What happened when Facebook and Twitter banned Trump after the Capitol riot

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When Facebook and Twitter barred Donald Trump from their platforms after the Capitol riot in January, he lost direct access to his most powerful megaphones. On Friday, Facebook said the former president would not be allowed back on its service until at least January 2023, citing a risk to public safety.

Since his ban and President Joe Biden’s inauguration, he has posted statements online far less often. But some of his statements have traveled just as far and wide on social networks.

The New York Times examined Trump’s nearly 1,600 social media posts from Sept. 1 to Jan. 8, the day Trump was banned from the platforms. We then tracked the social media engagement with the dozens of written statements he made on his personal website, campaign fundraising site and in email blasts from Jan. 9 until May 5, which was the day that the Facebook Oversight Board, which reviews some content decisions by the company, said that the company acted appropriately in kicking him off the service.

Before the ban, the social media post with the median engagement generated 272,000 likes and shares. After the ban, that dropped to 36,000 likes and shares. Yet 11 of his 89 statements after the ban attracted as many likes or shares as the median post before the ban, if not more.

Trump had long been his own best promoter on social media. The vast majority of people on Twitter and Facebook interacted directly with Trump’s posts, either liking or sharing them, the Times analysis found.

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But after the ban, other popular social media accounts often picked up his messages and posted them themselves. (Last week, Trump shut down his blog, one of the places he made statements.)

On Oct. 8, Trump tweeted that then-Democratic presidential candidate Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, lied “constantly.” The post was liked and shared 501,000 times on Facebook and Twitter.

On March 21, Trump published a statement on his website saying that his administration had handed over “the most secure border in history.” He went on to criticize the Biden administration’s handling of the border crisis. “Our Country is being destroyed!” Trump said. The statement was liked and shared more than 661,000 times.

The Global Disinformation Index, a nonpartisan nonprofit that studies disinformation, examined the political leanings of the top accounts sharing Trump’s statements online after he was barred from Facebook and Twitter. The group classified hundreds of accounts as either left- or right-leaning, or a mix of the two, relying on standards that it established through its work on disinformation risk ratings for news sites and other online media.

One thing that became immediately clear: Trump’s most ardent supporters continue to spread his message — doing the work that he had been unable to do himself.

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Since his ban and President Joe Biden's inauguration, former President Donald Trump has posted statements online far less often -- but some of his statements have traveled just as far and wide on social networks. -- 11.8 x 7.0 -- cat=f

Since his ban and President Joe Biden’s inauguration, former President Donald Trump has posted statements online far less often — but some of his statements have traveled just as far and wide on social networks. — 11.8 x 7.0 — cat=f

The top sharers of the March post included the right-wing publication Breitbart News (159,500 likes and shares), a Facebook page called “President Donald Trump Fan Club” (48,200 likes), Fox News (42,000 likes), and Jenna Ellis (36,700 likes), a lawyer who made regular television appearances as Trump’s proxy to trumpet his debunked claims of a rigged election.

But when Trump criticizes conservatives, his remarks sometimes get picked up by both the left and right.

On Feb. 16, for instance, Trump derided Sen. Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, because of McConnell’s unwillingness to back Trump’s attempts to undermine the 2020 election.

The top sharers on the right, according to the Global Disinformation Index analysis, included “Fox & Friends,” the cable news show, and the right-leaning publication Washington Examiner. On the left, the top sharers included the popular Facebook page Stand With Mueller and CNN journalist Jim Acosta.

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Many on the right shared the post while agreeing with it, while partisan pages on the left made fun of the intraparty fight. In total, the statement was shared and liked more than 345,000 times on Facebook and Twitter.

Since his ban and President Joe Biden's inauguration, former President Donald Trump has posted statements online far less often -- but some of his statements have traveled just as far and wide on social networks. -- 11.9 x 7.0 -- cat=f

Since his ban and President Joe Biden’s inauguration, former President Donald Trump has posted statements online far less often — but some of his statements have traveled just as far and wide on social networks. — 11.9 x 7.0 — cat=f

One topic from Trump that has not spread far: claims of widespread election fraud.

The Times analysis looked at the 10 most popular posts with election misinformation — judged by likes and shares — from Trump before the social media bans, and compared them with his 10 most popular written statements containing election misinformation after the ban. All the posts included falsehoods about the election — that the process had been “rigged,” for instance, or that there had been extensive voter fraud.

Before the ban, Trump’s posts garnered 22.1 million likes and shares; after the ban, his posts earned 1.3 million likes and shares across Twitter and Facebook.

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Disinformation researchers say the difference points to the enormous power the social media companies have in curbing political misinformation, if they choose to wield it. Facebook and Twitter curb the spread of false statements about the November election, though Twitter has loosened its enforcement since March to dedicate more resources to fact-checking in other parts of the world.

“As the Trump case shows, deplatforming doesn’t ‘solve’ disinformation, but it does disrupt harmful networks and blunt the influence of harmful individuals,” said Emerson Brooking, a resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which studies disinformation.

Since his ban and President Joe Biden's inauguration, former President Donald Trump has posted statements online far less often -- but some of his statements have traveled just as far and wide on social networks. -- 5.9 x 6.4 -- cat=f

Since his ban and President Joe Biden’s inauguration, former President Donald Trump has posted statements online far less often — but some of his statements have traveled just as far and wide on social networks. — 5.9 x 6.4 — cat=f

Trump’s statements that got the most engagement after his ban included topics like his commentary on the culture wars (as when he urged his followers to boycott baseball), praise for particular individuals (like for radio host Rush Limbaugh, who recently died) and attacks on Biden’s policies on issues like the border crisis and taxes.

Now that Trump has lost both the Oval Office and his Twitter account, he has become a kind of digital leader-in-exile, Brooking said.

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Trump’s supporters can refer to his statements to buttress their arguments, Brooking said, “but he’s not directly driving the agenda in the way he once was.”

This data includes statements made by Trump between Sept. 1 and May 5. Statements include social media posts from Trump’s accounts and other news releases in his own words, but they do not include social media posts of article headlines or posts reshared from other accounts. To find posts on Facebook and Instagram quoting these statements, we used CrowdTangle, a Facebook-owned social media analytics tool. We searched for posts that contained exact quotes of the first eight words or complete sentences from each statement in the post — either in text or in images.

To measure how much Trump’s words were engaged with, we selected the posts on Facebook and Instagram with the most likes and shares for each Trump statement, up to 100 for each platform (in most cases, there were fewer than 100 such posts). On Twitter, we selected all posts that had at least 10 retweets. We then added up the total likes and shares received by these posts to determine a proxy for the total amount of interaction for each Trump statement. Trump’s own posts are included in these tallies.

The Global Disinformation Index classified 880 social media accounts sharing Trump’s words after his ban on Jan. 8 as either left- or right-leaning, or a mix of the two, using standards that it established through its work on disinformation risk ratings for news sites and other online media. The index was able to classify the social media accounts that corresponded to 97% of all interaction data with Trump’s statements post-ban. The remaining 3% all had a small number of interactions

c.2021 The New York Times Company

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Elon Musk Says He’ll Pay $11 Billion in Taxes in 2021 But Twitter Wants ‘Proof’

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Elon Musk took to Twitter to clarify once and for all that he will be paying a whopping $11 billion as taxes this year.

If the number of times Elon Musk could count when someone has asked him to pay the full taxes, he would be a very rich..wait, never mind. The Tesla boss is rich beyond any private individual has been in history, reports said.

Musk has increasingly been facing criticism from many politicians and many others who insist he has not been paying taxes as compared to the profits his companies have been making. On Sunday, the SpaceX CEO took to Twitter to share that he will be paying a whopping $11 billion as taxes.

For those wondering, I will pay over $11 billion in taxes this year— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2021

But some of the questions did not stop. One person tweeted how they needed to see Musk’s tax returns while yet another asked how much percentage was that of his total income.

A few were, however scathing of the government who thought they will add that amount to their pockets rather than using it for some proper development.

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Wow that’s enough to give each person in the world almost $2 million but instead the government will just stick it in their pockets— greg (@greg16676935420) December 20, 2021

Why not $200 billion? Asking for a Senator— litquidity (@litcapital) December 20, 2021

Earlier this week, Democratic US Senator Elizabeth Warren has tweeted to say that Musk should pay taxes and stop “freeloading off everyone else” after Time magazine named him its “person of the year”.

In response, Musk shot four tweets in which he said that the senator reminded him of a friend’s angry mom who yelled at everybody. He tweeted, ““And if you opened your eyes for 2 seconds, you would realize I will pay more taxes than any American in history this year.” “Don’t spend it all at once … oh wait you did already.”

He added further, “You remind me of when I was a kid and my friend’s angry Mom would just randomly yell at everyone for no reason.”

Musk responded by saying that he “will pay more taxes than any American in history this year”. This Twitter exchange left netizens divided as even though many supported Warren and agreed that Musk should pay more taxes, others felt that he was already doing enough.

Musk’s Tesla is worth about $1 trillion. Over the last few weeks, he has sold nearly $14 billion worth of Tesla shares.

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The Tesla boss has been pushing for his colonize Mars agenda for years now, and has made it very clear in some occasions that he would rather spend the money on putting humanity on the red planet, than pay his taxes. “My plan,” the SpaceX founder tweeted about his fortune, “is to use the money to get humanity to Mars and preserve the light of consciousness.”

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Twitter Admits Policy ‘Errors’ After Far-Right Abuse Its New Rules of Posting Pictures

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Twitter’s new picture permission policy was aimed at combating online abuse, but US activists and researchers said Friday that far-right backers have employed it to protect themselves from scrutiny and to harass opponents.

Even the social network admitted the rollout of the rules, which say anyone can ask Twitter to take down images of themselves posted without their consent, was marred by malicious reports and its teams’ own errors.

It was just the kind of trouble anti-racism advocates worried was coming after the policy was announced this week.

Their concerns were quickly validated, with anti-extremism researcher Kristofer Goldsmith tweeting a screenshot of a far-right call-to-action circulating on Telegram: “Due to the new privacy policy at Twitter, things now unexpectedly work more in our favor.”

“Anyone with a Twitter account should be reporting doxxing posts from the following accounts,” the message said, with a list of dozens of Twitter handles.

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Gwen Snyder, an organizer and researcher in Philadelphia, said her account was blocked this week after a report to Twitter about a series of 2019 photos she said showed a local political candidate at a march organized by extreme-right group Proud Boys.

Rather than go through an appeal with Twitter she opted to delete the images and alert others to what was happening.

“Twitter moving to eliminate (my) work from their platform is incredibly dangerous and is going to enable and embolden fascists,” she told AFP.

In announcing the privacy policy on Tuesday, Twitter noted that “sharing personal media, such as images or videos, can potentially violate a person’s privacy, and may lead to emotional or physical harm.”

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But the rules don’t apply to “public figures or individuals when media and accompanying Tweets are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”

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By Friday, Twitter noted the roll out had been rough: “We became aware of a significant amount of coordinated and malicious reports, and unfortunately, our enforcement teams made several errors.”

“We’ve corrected those errors and are undergoing an internal review to make certain that this policy is used as intended,” the firm added.

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Jack Dorsey Post Twitter Is Chasing His Crypto, Fintech Dream

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At a packed Miami conference in June, Jack Dorsey, mused in front of thousands of attendees about where his real passion lay: “If I weren’t at Square or Twitter, I’d be working on Bitcoin.”

On Monday, Dorsey made good on one part of that, announcing he would leave Twitter for the second time, handing the CEO position to a 10-year veteran at the firm. The 45-year-old entrepreneur, who is often described as an enigma with varied interests from meditation to yoga to fashion design, plans to pursue his passion which include focusing on running Square and doing more philanthropic work, according to a source familiar with his plan.

Well before the surprise news, Dorsey had laid the groundwork for his next chapter, seeding both companies with cryptocurrency-related projects.

Underlying Dorsey’s broader vision is the principle of “decentralisation,” or the idea that technology and finance should not be concentrated among a handful of gatekeepers, as it is now, but should, instead, be steered by the hands of the many, either people or entities.

The concept has played out at Square, which has built a division devoted to working on projects and awarding grants with the aim of growing Bitcoin’s popularity globally. Bitcoin price in India stood at Rs. 44.52 lakh as of 12:50pm IST on December 1.

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Dorsey has been a longtime proponent of Bitcoin, and the appeal is that the cryptocurrency will allow for private and secure transactions with the value of Bitcoin unrelated to any government.

The idea has also underpinned new projects at Twitter, where Dorsey tapped a top lieutenant – and now the company’s new CEO Parag Agrawal – to oversee a team that is attempting to construct a decentralised social media protocol, which will allow different social platforms to connect with one another, similar to the way email providers operate.

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The project called Bluesky will aim to allow users control over the types of content they see online, removing the “burden” on companies like Twitter to enforce a global policy to fight abuse or misleading information, Dorsey said in 2019 when he announced Bluesky.

Bitcoin has also figured prominently at both of his companies. Square became one of the first public companies to own Bitcoin assets on its balance sheet, having invested $220 million (roughly Rs. 1,650 crore) in the cryptocurrency.

In August, Square created a new business unit called TBD to focus on Bitcoin. The company is also planning to build a hardware wallet for Bitcoin, a Bitcoin mining system, as well as a decentralised Bitcoin exchange.

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Twitter allows users to tip their favourite content creators with Bitcoin and has been testing integrations with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a type of digital asset that allows people to collect unique digital art.

Analysts see the transition as a positive signal for Square, the fintech platform he co-founded in 2009. Square’s core Cash App, after a bull run in its share in 2020, has experienced slower growth in the most recent quarter. It is also trying to digest the $29 billion (roughly Rs. 2,17,240 crore) acquisition of Buy Now Pay Later provider Afterpay, its largest acquisition ever.

But these ambitions will not pay off until years from now, analysts cautioned.

“The blockchain platform they’re trying to develop is great but also fraught with technical challenges and difficult to scale for consumers. I think he’ll focus more on Square and crypto will be part of that,” said Christopher Brendler, an analyst at DA Davidson.

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© Thomson Reuters 2021

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Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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