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The shutdown of Donald Trump’s blog less than a month after it started as traffic dwindled underscores the importance of social networks in spreading the populist message: after the former president was banned from Twitter and Facebook, his message has simply faded watered down, and his followers quietly return to normal, forgetting the conspiracy theories that have been fed them by social networks. Without them and their algorithms, Donald Trump is just another clown spitting garbage on his website with no hope of returning to power anytime soon.
In short, Trump’s energy is dwindling without the support of social networks, as is his ability to influence public opinion. The angry personality he created during his last stint In his tenure, the seventy-seven days in which he went so far as to attempt a coup that might have succeeded in a less robust democracy has been replaced by a pathetic character who is isolated and unable to attract attention.
During his tenure, social networks worked effectively for Trump, and we know why: we’re talking about his main customer, from whom he bought the most advertising. Early attempts by these social networks to contain Trump quickly gave way to a policy of sharing that allowed the former president to dominate the media with frenetic updates. If the campaign allowed him to spread his lies, such as the alleged threat of an “invasion of the United States” by immigrants and attack those most vulnerable to polarization, his time in the White House allowed him to divide the country Every day artificially nourished Fata Morgana that only came to an end when the social networks finally turned their backs on him.
If we leave this pathetic being behind, we must look to the future and establish mechanisms that prevent others from polarizing opinions and spreading lies via social networks. But unfortunately, Donald Trump is anything but unique. Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, the Brexit campaign in Great Britain and other examples show that populism has long since learned to use social networks and that this dynamic is deeply damaging to democracy.
The question now is how the future of freedom of expression on the web can be regulated and that it is not an option to allow messages of hatred, polarization and intolerance. We will see if we will be able to learn from the past, prevent the abuse of social networks in the next elections, and hopefully return to a reasonable democratic climate.