Facebook’s decision does not immediately hamper Mr Trump’s ability to raise funds. He still maintains control of a large number of supporter email addresses and phone numbers. However, the donation lists need to be constantly updated, and Facebook has proven to be a crucial place for Mr. Trump to do that.
“He has the best donation list, but it will go down over time if you don’t add it back,” said Eric Wilson, a Republican digital strategist. “Unable to run ads on Facebook, they lose petitions to add to their email list, polls, etc. – the tactic any campaign 365 must use to really get their funds – raising.”
During the course of 2020, the Trump campaign ran ads inviting users to take this SOCIALISM survey or to wish Melania a happy birthday. This would both help keep the lists up to date, as well as expanding or adding new names to their lists from time to time, or receiving a direct donation from the ad.
In the past few days, Mr Trump’s operation has begun more aggressively soliciting supporters for texting via SMS – including a response to Facebook’s decision on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Mr. Trump’s team announced that he would post his thoughts on political developments on his own website to brand them as “Off Donald J. Trump’s desk”. The power of Mr. Trump’s utterances on social media, however, had been their ability to quickly ricochet off the internet and into the streams of his supporters – something that was far more difficult to achieve when Deplatformed.
But even without Facebook, some Republican strategists are finding that Mr Trump still has one of the largest megaphones in the world, simply because of public interest in his plans that could lessen the impact of the Facebook ban.
“I compare it to someone who has a sprained ankle,” said Tim Cameron, a Republican digital strategist. “There’s a bit of a limp and he won’t be able to reach people on Facebook and other social platforms, but it certainly won’t stop him.”