Here’s just how much people have stopped talking about Trump on Facebook and Twitter
Former President Donald Trump speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2021. | Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesTrump used to be everywhere on social media. Now he’s nowhere.
Donald Trump used to be everywhere on social media — but lately, it feels like he’s nowhere.
Many have noted just how little people have been talking about Trump — from cable news to Google searches — since he lost the election and was kicked off Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube four months ago.
New data Recode obtained from social media measurement firms Zignal Labs and CrowdTangle shows just how drastic the drop in conversation about Trump has been.
Mentions of Trump went down by 34 percent on Twitter and 23 percent on Facebook the week after he was banned from both platforms following the Capitol riot on January 6. Since then, Trump mentions have continued to decline around 90 percent on both platforms from where they were the week of the riots. (That decline may be even greater than what the current data reflects on Twitter because it doesn’t include retweets and tweets from accounts that have since been deleted, like Trump’s.)
Of course, it’s impossible to divorce the decline in the Trump conversation from the fact that he’s no longer president. It’s natural for people to talk less about a world leader once he or she is no longer in office. Even before the bans, mentions of Trump had started to drop after he lost the election. But Trump wasn’t an ordinary president, and he’d made it very clear he planned to continue being present in political discourse after his loss — as evidenced by his posts inciting Capitol rioters.
Still, the steep decline of mentions in recent months shows just how the president who once set a national political agenda with his around-the-clock social media posts has been relegated to lesser relevance on the mainstream internet, and in conversation more broadly. Now that the Facebook oversight board has extended Trump’s Facebook ban six more months, that dampening will likely continue.
What the data shows
During his four years in office, Trump was one of the most active and influential figures on social media, often setting off global news cycles with a single 140-character tweet. And even after Trump lost the election, he was able to garner unparalleled social media attention as he perpetuated baseless conspiracy theories about the election results.
But everything changed when a crowd stormed the US Capitol in early January as Trump encouraged his followers to overturn the result of the election. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube then took the unprecedented step of kicking the then-sitting US president off their services.
Recode asked Zignal Labs and Facebook-owned CrowdTangle for data about Trump’s social media mentions to better understand his social media presence over time, and how his social media suspensions impacted that presence.
On Twitter, Trump garnered nearly 50 million mentions in the week beginning January 3, the week of the Capitol riots, according to data from Zignal, which searched for “Trump” as a keyword or hashtag. The following week, after Trump was banned, mentions dropped to around 30 million and have continued to decline precipitously. In the last month, that number has shrunk to around 3 million mentions per week — or roughly the level it was at in 2016, before Trump became president.
“While Donald Trump is still a heavily discussed figure on Twitter, his suspension in January has had a significant impact on the volume of mentions of his name on the platform,” said Jennifer Granston, chief customer officer and head of insights at Zignal Labs. “In the nearly five months since the permanent suspension of his account, there have been 151 million mentions of his name on Twitter. For context, during just the week of the 2020 presidential election, his name accumulated 56 million mentions.”
Screenshot of CrowdTangle data on Facebook interactions — “Likes,” reactions, comments, and shares — with posts including “Trump” over time.On Facebook, the week that included Election Day 2020 had the highest number of interactions, with 427 million “Likes,” reactions, comments, and shares on posts by Trump or including the word “Trump” on Facebook pages, public groups, and verified profiles. That spiked again to around 300 million the week of the Capitol riot but has since declined to levels below any seen in the past year — around 30 million a week. CrowdTangle’s data, as of publication, includes engagement with Trump’s account that has happened after he was banned from posting.
Again, it’s not entirely surprising that a lame-duck president would start to fade from public discussion.
But Trump was an exception. Even after his mentions and presence on social media had begun to decline post-election, he rallied his social media followers in a drastic rebound. In early January, Trump capitalized on the “#stopthesteal” social media campaign to attempt to overturn the result
May 6, 2021 - VOX
Former President Donald Trump speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2021. | Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesTrump used to be everywhere on social media. Now he’s nowhere. Donald Trump used to be everywhere on social media — but lately, it feels like he’s nowhere. Many have noted just how little people have been talking about Trump — from cable news to Google searches — since he lost the election and was kicked off Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube four months ago. New data Recode..