Donald Trump said social media is a ‘modern form of communication’ that played a key role in his historic victory
Mark Zuckerberg has spent the days since Donald Trump was voted in as 45th president of the United States downplaying Facebook’s role in the election, but that position may be harder to maintain now, as Trump himself has identified Facebook as a key element in helping him secure victory. “The fact that I have such power in terms of numbers with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.,” Trump said on CBS’ 60 Minutes on Sunday. “I think it helped me win all of these races where they’re spending much more money than I spent.”
The president-elect specified that social networks helped him win without him needing to spend as much as the Clinton campaign on other advertising, both digital and traditional. “I think that social media has more power than the money they spent,” he told host Lesley Stahl, a hypothesis that he said he “proved” to a certain extent.
Social media privileges were reportedly taken away from the president-elect just prior to the election — before being restored a short time later — but regular tweeter Trump seems very aware of his follower numbers on networks like Twitter and Facebook. He specified that he has more than 28 million followers across various social media platforms, and said that he was getting more each day. “I think I picked up yesterday 100,000 people,” he informed Stahl.
Twitter, Facebook, and the like are “great form[s] of communication,” Trump said. “I’m not saying I love it, but it does get the word out. When you give me a bad story or when you give me an inaccurate story,” he jabbed, pointing to Stahl’s CBS and other TV networks, social media gives him “a method of fighting back.”
But despite this power, Trump says he’s going to dial back his usage of networks like Twitter and Facebook when he becomes president. “I’m going to do very restrained, if I use it at all,” he said. That claim may be difficult to believe, though, especially when he has already used Twitter to blast so-called “professional” agitators for instigating protests against his upcoming presidency, and attacked media bastions like The New York Times.
If Trump does dial back his barbed social media posts, he’d be more in line with outgoing president Barack Obama’s strategy — the detached, careful style of the first tweeting president of the United States — but Trump may not want to give up something that he thinks was so vital to his campaign. “There should be nothing you should be ashamed of” in using social media, he said.