The cancellation of Donald Trump on social networks, from the first week of January, mainly via Facebook and Instagram, ended with its removal in American news.
Trump has disappeared from channels like CNN and MSNBC and even from Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, which has fallen further and further behind. Also newspapers.
This explains why the humble appeal that the ex-president of the United States made to Facebook’s so-called “supreme court” to restore its access was barely noticed this week.
It was necessary that the site Insider, of the German group Axel Springer, put forward the extract of an interview of the president of the “tribunal” in Channel 4, confirming that he had received the request of the “user” and affirming that he was in no rush to disclose his recommendation in April.
Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg will then decide whether Trump can once again have a voice on his platforms.
Similar decisions have spread tensions in other countries. On Wednesday (24), for example, Facebook decided to remove all pages related to Myanmar’s new government.
The day before, he reestablished ties with Australian news outlets – which he had abandoned a week earlier – after making changes to the draft which regulates remuneration for the use of information on platforms.
“Facebook can now offer the amount you want, including nothing, without the risk of a fine,” summarizes the Nieman Lab at Harvard.
But the blackout has also opened the eyes of newsrooms in Australia and others around the world.
One piece of news caught the eye, immediately: As soon as the links to state-run ABC TV left the platforms, its app spun in Apple and Google stores, taking first place in Australia.
Amid the confrontation, the agency-linked Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism went to interview Sinead Boucher, an executive who since 2017 has been running Stuff, New Zealand’s most popular news site, which is part of its international. There are 400 journalists, New Zealand’s largest newsroom, with different brands.
Facing the blackout in neighboring Australia, the interview asked her about the effects of Stuff’s decision in July last year to remove all of her content from Facebook and Instagram.
The release, in fact, had started in 2019, when the site stopped spending on platform advertising after the Christchurch massacre – when an Australian killed 51 Muslims in two mosques, broadcast live on Facebook. This first measure, said Boucher, has already shown “no effect on our traffic”.
In the second, to remove all content, traffic even increased by 5%, although the figure must be put into perspective because it was an election year and a pandemic, which would translate into stronger growth .
“We thought we could have grown more, but it was not at all disastrous,” said Boucher. “We were prepared for a big crash, and it didn’t happen.”
Back in Australia, a parallel finding, with the blackout, was that platforms have become less polarized, without the furious comments on the news. “Facebook is not a place for news or for news organizations,” concluded Emily Bell of Columbia University in New York.
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