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Donald Trump’s new website is up, and his online presence is down – way down.
According to a new report by The Washington Post, social media engagement with Mr Trump is at its lowest point since he ran for president five years ago. Even since January, it’s down by 95 per cent.
“The difference is ridiculous,” Megan Squire, an Elon University computer science professor who studied the data, told the Post. “He doesn’t have that same ability anymore to constantly put his content in people’s faces the way he did before.”
The newspaper talked to four web analytics companies to measure how often the ex-president is mentioned on social media, counting up comments, likes, shares, and other reactions.
Those numbers have nosedived since January, when Mr Trump gave an incendiary speech to a mob of his supporters who then stormed the United States Capitol. In the aftermath of the riot, most major social media platforms – including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube – banished the former president from their sites.
Since then, Mr Trump’s team has promised that one day he’ll triumphantly return via his own social media platform, eschewing the tech giants.
“It’s going to completely redefine the game,” Trump advisor Jason Miller told Fox News in March, “and everybody is going to be waiting and watching to see what exactly President Trump does.”
This week, the team unveiled what they came up with: a blog. The rudimentary website features a one-way forum for Mr Trump’s posts, similar to his infamous tweets, without features for comments or reactions.
Mr Trump’s advisors insist that the blog is separate from the social media juggernaut they promised, which is still on its way.
“President Trump’s website is a great resource to find his latest statements and highlights from his first term in office, but this is not a new social media platform,” Mr Miller tweeted. “We’ll have additional information coming on that front in the very near future.”
In the meantime, the blog isn’t doing so well. In the past week, Mr Trump’s new posts have been shared on Facebook less than 2,000 times per day. In the week ending on 18 May, the entire website received only about 4 million visitors – less than the websites Petfinder, Delish, or Squarespace.
It’s a stunning plunge from Mr Trump’s pre-Capitol riot peak, when he commanded 88 million followers on Twitter and 35 million followers on Facebook.
Mr Trump’s new forum, by contrast, gets less traffic than the right-wing fringe websites Newsmax or Gateway Pundit.
“He’s whistling in the wind,” Ms Squire told the Post. “People just aren’t following him to his little desk platform, and we can see that in the numbers.”