Months after launching on just about every major social media platform, former President Donald Trump is now posting on a raw Twitter reply attached to his website called “From Donald J. Trump’s Office.” The site, which went live on Tuesday, was pre-populated with snippets from Trump’s press releases dating back to the end of March. The most recent post, from Tuesday, is a video presenting the platform as “a place to speak freely and safely”.
The Twitter-like thread appears on a single web page of Trump’s official site. Each post says “Donald J. Trump” at the top, with a timestamp, which might make more sense if more than one person was using the platform. There are, however, some important differences between Twitter and the former president’s virtual “office”. You cannot comment or reply to any of the messages. The platform has no limit of 280 characters; some messages are published on thousands of characters. “Like” a post seems to do nothing other than turn the heart shaped knob to red, as there is no engagement meter and disliking a post is not an option. While taking a look at the code on the site, one of my colleagues on the Slate development team noticed that the website collects data when users like certain posts. (It continues to send data to the Trump team every time you click the button, even if you already liked the post.) Next to each post, you can also click buttons that you can click. to share the content directly to Twitter, which permanently banned Trump. , and Facebook, which decides this week to let him return to the platform. Posts are generally too long for Twitter’s character limit, resulting in awkward disruption of reposting. The top of the page also features ‘contribute’ and ‘subscribe’ buttons, presumably to help raise funds for future political activities or even another presidential campaign.
For the most part, the content of the posts is a bit more wordy than what Trump wrote on Twitter, but he hasn’t given up on his habits of attacking political enemies and spreading conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. Another recent article backdated to Monday, Trump denounces Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney as a “high-profile warmonger.”
Another major difference with Twitter is how shoddy Trump’s new platform is. For a while on Tuesday afternoon, lines of debugging code appeared to be visible at the bottom of the page, although they were later concealed. Another colleague of mine spotted a code indicating that the site does not ask for affirmative consent to track users with a Facebook page pixel, even if they reside in Europe. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation requires websites to lead visitors to explicitly choose this type of data collection.
Back on Twitter, users relentlessly poke fun at the platform’s aesthetics and functionality, essentially calling it a slapdash blog disguised as a social media site.
At the same time, some of Trump’s top supporters like the former White House aide Sebastien gorka (now Newsmax host) and disgraced political journalist Benny johnson (also now a Newsmax host) shared it.
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and other major social media sites have deleted Trump’s accounts in the wake of the Capitol Riot for fear he will no longer instigate violence and prevent an orderly transfer of presidential power. Some have done this permanently, while others may eventually let it come back. The question then was how the social media obsessed former president was going to try to speak directly to his supporters. Last summer, and then shortly after the 2020 election, the Trump organization briefly entered into negotiations with the right-wing platform Parler to create an account there in exchange for a stake in the company. , but the talks failed. Trump also sent out press releases, some of which look like tweets; although they are sent directly to journalists’ inboxes, they did not do the same on social media as his old missives. Trump has been hinting for weeks that he would be launching a new social media network that could compete with Facebook and Twitter. If it’s the result of that effort, it doesn’t look like the incumbent platforms have much to worry about.
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