On first inspection, Donald Trump’s Facebook page looks dead. The last post by the former president is dated Jan. 6, 2021 at 3:14 p.m. He called for “everyone in the U.S. Capitol remain peaceful” and Facebook banned him immediately for inciting the riots. This account became a time capsule of the chaotic days that preceded his presidency’s end. Donald J. Trump
But that’s only part of the story. Like a carcass of a whale that sinks to seafloor, whole ecosystems are now emerging in the shadows of its slowly decomposing shell. The comments section below that last post is now an active feeding ground for Trump’s critics and fans, where they still meet months later to argue, troll, and pay homage.Donald Trump
“I don’t know if any of these comments are visible, but I wanted you to know that We the People miss you and love your Mr. President,” Cyndi Lane wrote April 14, 98 days after Trump had written the reply. “Hurry back, or should I say, hurry up 2024!”
Lane, 54, is a Missouri bridal coordinator and stylist. She has been voting Republican since the Reagan Years. According to The Times, she knew Facebook had banned Trump but made her comment anyway when she saw a news article that prompted her check the account again.
This post has over 700,000 comments. Most of Trump’s previous posts received between 20,000 to 200,000. New replies are posted every few minutes. It’s the first thing visitors to Trump’s page see, and it’s been transformed into a kind of ad-hoc message board for anyone who wants to interact with Trump’s memory. Donald Trump
One supporter wrote April 15, “We need you to know that we hear you,”
April 21: “You killed us, but Biden cures us,” said a critic.
April 3: “Liberals are crazy, as hell,” said the “Hodgetwins”, two Facebook-famous conservative commentators.
“I really wish Facebook would just delete that page and all its contents.” Someone wrote March 14: “It’s all a bunch lies and jokes anyways.” The response came back two days later: “You are addicted.” You are on a closed account with someone you don’t like. Get help.”
Andrews, a Oklahoma resident and unemployed, commented below Trump’s Facebook post once, but after his page appeared in her news feed, she did so again. She wrote “I can’t believe Facebook put his back up”, echoing a common mistake: commenters often see Trump’s old post and think it’s new, so they assume that he has been allowed to return.
Andrews stated that he thought they had deleted the entire page, much like Twitter. “Because Twitter is impossible to find anything. It was all gone. So I assumed Facebook had done the same.
However, it didn’t. Even though Trump is gone, Trump’s page remains online, with his last post still visible and its comments section slowly collecting replies from people who cannot stop thinking about Trump.