For a time on June 2, it looked like former President Donald Trump had had his accounts on Instagram and Facebook reactivated by the company. Users began to speculate that his page had returned after it was visible, with the most recent posts being ones that were posted on January 6. Naturally, people began to wonder whether Trump was back on Facebook.
Is Trump back on Facebook?
After journalists from Vox and BuzzFeed posted about the fact that Trump's accounts were visible again, Facebook's Communications Director responded saying that Trump's accounts on both Instagram and Facebook were still "indefinitely suspended."
In fact, it seems that Trump's pages have always been up, but he hasn't been able to post to them since Facebook announced the suspension on Jan. 7, following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
News of Trump's possible return came hours after he shut down his blog.
The speculation that Trump was returning to Facebook was even more heightened because of news that he had decided to shut down his blog, which was called "From the Desk of Donald J. Trump", and was clearly designed in part to replace his presence on social media.
The news that Trump had shut down the blog came following reports that it was not receiving the kinds of traffic that the former president had hoped.
According to reporting from The Washington Post, posts to the blog were shared to Facebook fewer than 2,000 times on average, which was a staggering comedown from the commanding social media presence Trump had prior to being banned from Twitter and Facebook.
Facebook announced Trump's ban from the platform by acknowledging the "risks of allowing the president to continue" posting.
Last month, Facebook's oversight board upheld the company's decision to ban Trump, but added that further review was needed in order for the company to clarify its policies. They added that the company should opt to impose a time-limited suspension and that the company should "assess the risk" that Trump would use the platform to incite violence again if he is allowed to return.
Twitter, which had been Trump's medium of choice, also decided to ban the former president following the insurrection at the Capitol. In its announcement of Trump's ban, Twitter was more definitive, saying that he was permanently banned because of the "risk of further incitement of violence."
Trump's disappearance from social media has limited his audience from the heights that it reached during his presidency, but he still has plenty of power over the politics inside of his party. There's been plenty of interest in whether Trump will run for another term as president in 2024, although he has yet to definitively announce one way or the other.
If he chooses to run again, Facebook will be forced to make a choice about whether he is allowed back on the platform. Until that point, though, it's clear that Trump is struggling to find an audience that matched his following on Twitter.