by Sharon Rondeau
(Jun. 8, 2021) — In a public statement issued on social media Tuesday evening, 45th President of the United States Donald J. Trump claimed that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg frequently called the White House while he was in office and attended dinners there, during which the young multi-billionaire lavished the former billionaire businessman with praise.
The revelation emanated from Trump’s reaction to the Nigerian government’s decision to ban the use of social-media giant Twitter on Friday. “Congratulations to the country of Nigeria, who just banned Twitter because they banned their President,” Trump wrote. “More COUNTRIES should ban Twitter and Facebook for not allowing free and open speech—all voices should be heard…”
Contrary to Trump’s claim, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s Twitter account was not suspended or closed. Rather, Buhari announced his government’s ban of the platform on Twitter, arriving at the decision after Twitter deleted one of his tweets “that was widely perceived as offensive,” CNN reported.
According to the BBC on Tuesday, “Many Nigerians have been continuing to tweet in defiance of government threats to arrest and prosecute anyone violating the ban it imposed on Twitter.”
In the aftermath of the January 6, 2021 incursion at the U.S. Capitol for which Trump was largely blamed, Twitter and Facebook suspended Trump’s accounts. YouTube quickly followed suit.
Twitter’s ban has been deemed permanent, and Facebook stated on Friday that its action against the 45th president would last at least two years. “At the end of this period, we will look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded,” Facebook’s statement reads, in part. “We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest. If we determine that there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to re-evaluate until that risk has receded.”
Just days before Trump left office, Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram briefly restored Trump’s accounts.
On Saturday, Twitter responded to Nigeria’s ban, stating, “We are deeply concerned by the blocking of Twitter in Nigeria. Access to the free and #OpenInternet is an essential human right in modern society. We will work to restore access for all those in Nigeria who rely on Twitter to communicate and connect with the world. #KeepitOn.”
In response to the statement, one user wrote, “I am deeply concerned by the suspending of President Donald Trump on Twitter. Access to the free and #OpenInternet is an essential human right in modern society, even if you disagree with their politics.”
Both Facebook and Twitter claimed that Trump violated their policies by inciting violence at the Capitol, although the only confirmed “violence” against a human being was committed by a U.S. Capitol Police officer on an unarmed Air Force veteran, Ashli Babbitt, who tragically lost her life that day.
Left-leaning media outlets have condemned Buhari’s blocking of Twitter in his country but not the site’s silencing in January of a then-sitting U.S. president nor other political “conservatives” who have since moved to other platforms.
Trump mused in his comment that while in the White House, “Perhaps I should have” taken action against Twitter. He then countered with, “But Zuckerberg kept calling me and coming to the White House for dinner telling me how great I was. 2024?”
Last week, Trump strongly suggested he plans to seek another presidential term in 2024. On Saturday, he clearly assumed the role of leader of the Republican Party while addressing the North Carolina GOP’s state convention, during which he decried Joe Biden’s decisions and actions since January 20 and emphasized his own administration’s accomplishments, particularly relating to the COVID-19 pandemic arising during his last year.
According to a report released in December by Phill Kline, former Kansas attorney general and director of The Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donated more than $400 million in the months leading up to the November 3, 2020 presidential election to left-leaning organizations with the purpose of increasing Democrat turnout by facilitating mail-in voting and gaining access to election data not normally available to outside parties.
On Tuesday night, four different sources led to an error message while this writer attempted to link to Kline’s report. A fifth source containing a summary of the report’s contents yielded the same result.
Trump’s claim of Zuckerberg’s flattery hearkened back to his statement on Friday in which he wrote, “Next time I’m in the White House there will be no more dinners, at his request, with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife. It will be all business!”