Facebook Ban Hits Trump Where It Hurts: Messaging and Money

The decision by Facebook does not immediately hamper Mr. Trump’s fund-raising ability — he still maintains control of a large number of supporter email addresses and phone numbers. But fund-raising lists must be continually refreshed, and Facebook has proved a crucial place for Mr. Trump to do so.

“He has the best fund-raising list, but that decays over time if you’re not adding back into it,” said Eric Wilson, a Republican digital strategist. “So because they don’t have the ability to run ads on Facebook, they’re losing out on petitions to grow their email list, surveys, things like that — the tactics that every campaign has to be doing 365 to really maintain their fund-raising.”

Throughout 2020, the Trump campaign would run ads asking users to “take this SOCIALISM poll” or “Wish Melania a Happy Birthday,” which would help both with keeping lists current while occasionally expanding or adding new names to their lists, or getting a direct donation from the ad.

In recent days, Mr. Trump’s operation has begun to more aggressively solicit supporters for cash via text message — including one reacting to the Facebook decision on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump’s team announced he would begin posting his thoughts on political developments to his own website, trying to brand it as the “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump.” But the power of Mr. Trump’s pronouncements on social media had been their ability to ricochet quickly across the web and into the streams of his supporters — something far harder to achieve while being deplatformed.

But even without Facebook, some Republican strategists note that Mr. Trump still has one of the largest megaphones in the world, simply because of the public interest in his plans, which might lessen the impact of Facebook’s ban.

“I compare it to somebody who has a sprained ankle,” said Tim Cameron, a Republican digital strategist. “It’s kind of hobbling for a little bit, and he’s not going to be at the strength that he would be with the ability to reach people on Facebook and other social platforms, but it’s certainly not something that’s going to stop him.”

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