Trump unveils new online platform to communicate with supporters

The launch precedes by one day the decision of Facebook’s Oversight Board on whether to uphold its ban on the former president. 

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Months after being banned from the biggest social media sites, former President Donald Trump unveiled Tuesday his own platform to broadcast his messaging.

Called “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” it will allow the Republican heavyweight to post videos, comments and images. The platform can be accessed via www.DonalFJTrump.com/desk.

An introductory clip posted Tuesday night called the space “a beacon of freedom” and “a place to speak freely and safely.” For now, though, the communications go only one way, as users cannot reply to his posts. They can help him bypass the ban on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube by sharing his posts via their own accounts.

Facebook, however, will not allow any content that has “the voice of Donald Trump” in it, no matter who posts it. It has warned that accounts that try anyway will have “additional limitations” put on them.

Trump was thrown off the media giants’ sites after the Capitol Hill riots on Jan. 6, which the CEOs blamed on the former president. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said at the time that they “believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.”

Twitter, where Trump had 88 million followers, banned him permanently, while YouTube said vaguely that it would reinstate Trump’s account when the threat of “real-world violence” is reduced.

Despite Zuckerberg’s statement, Facebook almost immediately turned to its newly established Oversight Board to make a binding decision on whether the suspension should be indefinite. The board’s ruling is expected Wednesday, and would also apply to Instagram, which Facebook bought in 2012.

The independent quasi-judiciary has some 20 members, among them human and digital rights experts, judges and law professors, a quarter of them American. Speaking to Fox News Wednesday, Center for a New American Security fellow Kara Frederick said that five members are chosen at random to hear each case, and that their deliberations do not include hearing testimony from the subject of the ban. She criticized this aspect of the decision-making process as being inherently unfair.

Rulings are made by a majority vote of the panel.