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Facebook’s Trump Gift to Democrats

Oh no! Mr. Mean coming to a smart phone near you!

Facebook’s Trump Gift to Democrats

Biden couldn’t be happier as the social-media platform lifts its ban on the former President.

By The Editorial Board, WSJ

Jan. 26, 2023 6:38 pm ET

Meta Platforms Inc. is letting Donald Trump back on its social-media sites, and the question is who is happier: Mr. Trump, or Democrats? Our guess is the latter, as they are eager to see the former President back at the center of Republican politics.

Nick Clegg, Meta’s president for global affairs, wrote Wednesday that Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts will soon be reinstated. “The public should be able to hear what their politicians are saying—the good, the bad and the ugly—so that they can make informed choices at the ballot box,” Mr. Clegg wrote in a blog post.

He’s right, which was our argument against banning Mr. Trump two years ago after the events of Jan. 6, 2021. Facebook joined Twitter and others in Silicon Valley in banishing Mr. Trump amid the political fury over his behavior that disgraceful day. The bans reduced the reach of Mr. Trump’s speech, but they hardly kept him out of public life as his renewed campaign for President shows.

Mr. Trump recently asked Meta to reinstate him, no doubt in large part so he can raise money for his campaign. Facebook is a useful venue to reach the small-dollar donors Mr. Trump will need as many of the GOP’s large donors seek someone who can win in 2024.

Facebook also won’t mind the revenue from those fund-raising ads, as well as the reader traffic his presence might generate. Facebook has been losing traffic to TikTok and other platforms, and millions of former users have found that the site leads to more anxiety and anger than it has social utility. Mr. Clegg said Mr. Trump will have to abide by the company’s content guidelines or risk being banned again.

Mr. Trump used social media to catapult himself to the GOP’s 2016 nomination, but the novelty of his message has waned. Elon Musk lifted his Twitter ban weeks ago, but Mr. Trump hasn’t returned to that site, where he has almost 90 million followers. He now communicates via Truth Social, a startup site that might collapse if Mr. Trump leaves it for Twitter.

Mr. Trump’s most loyal fans may welcome him back, but not as much as Democrats and the White House will. Since his victory in 2016, Democrats have prospered running against the man from Mar-a-Lago. They regained the House in 2018, the White House in 2020 and the Senate in 2021 by mobilizing their voters against Mr. Trump. They worked hard to keep him front and center in 2022 even though he wasn’t on the ballot. It paid off in smaller than expected GOP gains in the House.

The fondest Democratic hope is that Mr. Trump will be the GOP’s nominee again in 2024. They hardly issue a press release or appear on TV without using the words “MAGA Republicans.” They hope the media will amplify Mr. Trump’s comments, which these days are less amusing than angry.

His Truth Social post this week continued his unhinged attack on Elaine Chao, his former Transportation Secretary who is married to Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell: “Does Coco Chow have anything to do with Joe Biden’s Classified Documents being sent and stored in Chinatown?”

Democrats will love it if Republican voters fall for this combination of racial slur and evidence-free political smear.

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