May 5, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump's spell over the media broke once he lost his megaphones

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Axios Visuals

Social media interactions about former President Trump have fallen 91% since January, according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.

Why it matters: When Trump lost his social media accounts, he lost his once-immense power to put himself at the center of Americans' attention.

Driving the news: He could regain some of that power if Facebook's independent oversight board rules today that he can rejoin the platform.

Immediately after Trump was banned from all of the major social media platforms in the wake of the Capitol riot, he maintained an outsized presence in the news cycle as his presidency wound down and he faced impeachment.

  • But once impeachment ended, Americans' consumption of media about Trump dipped precipitously, dropping to lower levels than at any point since he first announced his bid for the presidency in 2015.

By the numbers: Clicks to Trump stories fell 81% from January to February, another 56% from February to March and 40% from March to April, according to exclusive data from SocialFlow.

  • Following impeachment, the biggest storylines related to Trump have been tied to Biden administration actions, including news about the border wall; speculation about a Trump social media platform; and news about allies like Rudy Giuliani and Kayleigh McEnany, per NewsWhip.

Between the lines: Trump's ability to broadcast his thoughts to major social platforms disappeared in recent months, but so too did the imperative for news organizations to cover him.

  • Post-presidency, Trump has tried to get his thoughts out through tweet-like press releases, which only get seen if media outlets pick them up.

"Trump’s social media superpower was never his ability to tweet — it was his ability to get the media to cover what he tweeted," SocialFlow CEO Jim Anderson tells Axios.

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