Even blogging is too much work for Trump

After he was shut out of his favorite platforms of Twitter and Facebook for his serial lying and inflaming his supporters to stage an insurrection, Trump promised to start his own system to reach his fans. It turned out to be underwhelming, consisting of basically a blog that did not have the kinds of features that the major social media platforms provide that enable wider participation and it was the target of much derision by late night TV comedians. Today it was announced that he was shutting it down for good after less than a month, which will no doubt prompt more jokes.

Those who attempt to visit the page are now greeted with a web form asking for their contact information to receive updates through email or text message.

The blog, called “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” was launched May 4 and came months after the former President had been banned from Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR).

At the time, the page was billed as a platform by which Trump could speak directly to his supporters.

As someone who has been blogging continuously 2005, I can testify that it takes some time and effort but not a whole lot. But either it was too much work for him, even though he has people who can provide the content on his behalf, or he did not get enough attention to satisfy his needs.

The whole business of Twitter and Facebook suspending or permanently banning him is deeply problematic. They are private companies and have the right to decide what appears on their platforms, just like I have the right to ban people from this blog. The difference is that their platforms reach vast numbers of people and banning some people and not others has a major impact on public discourse.

The basic problem here is that they are monopolies. If there was a competitive marketplace of social media platforms, then being banned from one platform would not matter as much.

I think the government and society in general need to come to grips with the basic issue of whether these companies are publishers and thus have the right to decide what is published or they are exclusively platforms for the exchange of information that have no responsibility for the content that appears. The companies argue that they are the latter in order to avoid liability for anything that appears on their sites but also want to reserve the right to act as publishers to avoid being blamed for hate speech and incitements to violence. They cannot be allowed to have it both ways.

It is only a matter to time until legislation is introduced to force the issue. New anti-trust legislation or more vigorous enforcement of existing ones that can break up monopolies would be a good place to start.


  1. Mark Dowd says

    If there was a competitive marketplace of social media platforms,

    I highly doubt that will ever happen. Social media is different from other products where their popularity is not just part of their subjective value, but inherently part of their objective value. All other things being equal, the more popular social media site is objectively better simply by virtue of having more people.

    You’d have to enforce some standard of interoperability where people on one network can access some common features of the other networks, and now you’ve just reinvented the internet on top of the internet.

  2. blf says

    [Are] these companies are publishers and thus have the right to decide what is published or they are exclusively platforms for the exchange of information that have no responsibility for the content that appears[?]

    Neither (well, actually, there’s another issue, which perhaps causes that issue). Their product is YOU, the reader, especially if you have an account. They sell your details, including browsing habits (and not just at their sites), to others for assorted purposes. To attract you to their sites (and to subscribe), anything at all which gets your attention is available. This would include child p0rn if enough people “wanted” it and it wasn’t illegal. Or even a blank page, albeit I suspect the temptation to fill it with adverts would be too great.

    This is why I try to avoid visiting any of the sites, will absolutely never ever subscribe, refer to one of them as factsbork, have deleted the (pre-installed) apps from my mobile, and employ a range of both technical and habitual measures to frustrate or prevent their nefarious activities. And it’s one of the reasons the EU has the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

  3. Matt G says

    What are the chances that The Donald actually has a desk? It should read: “From the Couch in Front of the Television Airing Fox News of Donald J. Trump” (or whatever he’s watching these days).

  4. johnson catman says

    re Matt G @3: HAHAHAHAHA!!! He does his best “thinking” on a gold toilet, doncha know? The same product comes out of both orifices (or fingers as it may be).

  5. says


    In a similar vein, here is today’s quiz question:

    Which lasted longer? Mike Flynn as National Security Advisor, or Trump’s blog?

  6. Ridana says

    They cannot be allowed to have it both ways.

    Why not? They can be a private platform with no legal responsibility for what content others put up and still choose to take some responsibility and ban people when they violate their terms of service.
    Publishers actively choose what to publish, but that’s pretty much impossible for platforms where millions of individuals are posting content daily. FB and Twitter do have people trying to police that (while also having to cater to the bean counters and shareholders), but they’re dependent on users to flag content for the most part, and even then the arbiters are fighting a losing battle, being so outnumbered. Of course these platforms need to spend some money on hiring more people and paying them better, but that’s a different question.

  7. Who Cares says

    The reason for shuttering the blog according to the Trump inner circle:

    An adviser told The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey that the former president wanted to open a new “platform” and didn’t like that this platform was being mocked and had so few readers.

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