The impeachment brief and reply memorandum filed by the House of Representatives charging President Trump with “incitement of insurrection against the Republic he swore to protect” cites 29 tweets.
Under the radar, though, President Trump was using Facebook to aggressively stoke the big lie, organize the mob, and incite his most extreme supporters for months. While the impeachment briefs only cite former President Trump’s tweets, a CAP Action analysis found that of those 29 tweets, 25 of them also appeared in nearly identical forms on Donald Trump’s Facebook Page. Over 86% of the Trump Tweets cited in the House impeachment briefs appeared on his Facebook Page. Twenty of those posts (two were removed by Facebook) gathered more than 14.4 million direct interactions on Facebook (comments, likes, and shares) according to the CAP Action analysis that used data pulled from Newswhip, a firm that tracks social media engagement.
Because Facebook does not provide greater public data and transparency, we do not know the full reach of those 22 posts but with more than 35 million followers on Facebook, the reach of those posts was extensive.
Facebook was a key driver in the January 6th insurrectionist attack on the US Capitol. A recent Forbes analysis of data from the GW Project on Extremism found that Facebook data was cited in 73 of the 200 federal charging documents stemming from the January 6th attack on the Capitol, dwarfing any other service and exposing the falsehood of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s statement on January 11th, 2021 that “these events were largely organized on [other platforms]” and not Facebook.
Because of President Trump’s Facebook posts that facilitated the Big Lie of a stolen election that led to the insurrection, and his posts that directly encouraged the attack on January 6, Facebook placed an indefinite ban on President Trump’s ability to post on Facebook. However, the Facebook created and funded Facebook Oversight Board accepted a referral from Facebook to determine if President Trump should be allowed to return to the platform. Former President Trump is a clear and present danger online and should be permanently banned from all social media platforms for his contributions to the violence on January 6th, his relentless campaign to delegitimize the election he lost, and his history of racist and white supremist posts. For these and other reasons, CAP submitted comments to the Oversight Board emphasizing these and other points.
Facebook was an essential tool for Donald Trump’s incitement of the January 6th insurrection, that fact should be remembered and Donald Trump should not be allowed back on the platform.