Trump hypes new "communications platform": It's a blog — run with Big Tech's help

"From the Desk of Donald J. Trump" has fake tweets — but no comments, no user posts, no social media component

Published May 5, 2021 4:29PM (EDT)

Former President Donald Trump. (Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images)
Former President Donald Trump. (Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump launched a "communications platform" on Tuesday afternoon, billed as a place on the internet where his supporters can "freely and safely" speak. But they can't interact. It's not some new invention and it's pretty much one-way communication. In fact, it bears a striking resemblance to a blog.

The surprise rollout of the ex-president's "platform," which is called "From the Desk of Donald J. Trump," revealed a site with no user-generated content, not even comments or posts. At the moment, From the Desk is just an online home for Trump posts in a strikingly familiar form: no more than 280 characters each. (In a striking coincidence, that's maximum number of characters allowed in a single tweet.)

A video posted to the homepage of the new Trump blog introduced the site as "a beacon of freedom" and a "place to speak freely and safely."

"The space allows Trump to post, and allows followers to share the former president's posts to Twitter and Facebook; however, the new platform does not have a feature to allow users to 'reply' or engage with Trump's posts," Fox News noted in its "exclusive" report.

Trump spokesman and former campaign aide Jason Miller added that the platform is "a great resource to find his latest statements and highlights from his first term in office" — with the use of "first" perhaps meant to strike fear into Democrats' hearts. Miller further noted that "this is not a new social media platform. We'll have additional information coming on that front in the very near future." There has long been talk about Trump launching his own social media platform to rival the likes of Parler and far-right Gab, but this is clearly not it. 

Andrew Kirell, an editor at The Daily Beast, offered a succinct description of the twice-impeached former president's new platform.

Trump and his allies and sidekicks have been outspoken about disliking Big Tech, especially in recent weeks, but it turns out the ex-president's team has choses to run their website's metrics with Google Analytics. Bloomberg News reporter William Turton tweeted: "Trump's site is also using Google Analytics. Down with Big Tech!" 

As Salon's senior politics editor Sophia Tesfaye noted, the website also links back to Trump's nonexistent Twitter page

The release of "From the Desk" came less than 24 hours before Facebook's "oversight board" announced on Wednesday morning that it would uphold, at least for now, Trump's ban from Facebook and Instagram, which followed the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol. 

By Zachary Petrizzo

Zachary Petrizzo was an investigative reporter at Salon. Follow him on Twitter @ZTPetrizzo.

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