Donald Trump’s new social media venture, Truth Social, was launched late on Sunday in Apple’s App Store, potentially marking the former US president’s return to social media after he was banned from several platforms last year.
Some users reported either having trouble registering for an account or were added to a waitlist with a message: “Due to massive demand, we have placed you on our waitlist.”
Trump was banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube following the 6 January 2021 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters, after he was accused of posting messages inciting violence.
Led by former Republican US representative Devin Nunes, Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), the venture behind Truth Social, joins a growing portfolio of technology companies that are positioning themselves as champions of free speech and hope to draw users who feel their views are suppressed on more established platforms.
So far none of the newer companies, which include Twitter competitors Gettr and Parler and video site Rumble, have come close to matching the popularity of their mainstream counterparts.
“This week we will begin to roll out on the Apple App Store. That’s going to be awesome, because we’re going to get so many more people that are going to be on the platform,” Nunes said in a Sunday appearance on Fox News’s Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo.
“Our goal is, I think we’re going to hit it, I think by the by the end of March we’re going to be fully operational at least within the United States,” he added.
Truth Social’s app store page detailing its version history showed the first public version of the app, or version 1.0 was available a day ago. The current version 1.0.1 includes “bug fixes”, according to the page.
On Friday, Nunes was on the app urging users to follow more accounts, share photos and videos, and participate in conversations, in an apparent attempt to drum up activity, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Among Nunes’s posts, he welcomed a new user who appeared to be a Catholic priest and encouraged him to invite more priests to join, according to the person with knowledge of the matter.
Even as details of the app begin trickling out, TMTG remains mostly shrouded in secrecy and is regarded with scepticism by some in tech and media circles. It is unclear, for example, how the company is funding its current growth.
TMTG remains mostly shrouded in secrecy and is regarded with scepticism by some in tech and media circles
TMTG is planning to list in New York through a merger with blank-cheque firm Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC) and stands to receive US$293-million in cash that DWAC holds in a trust, assuming no DWAC shareholder redeems their shares, TMTG said in a 21 October press release.
Additionally, in December TMTG raised $1-billion committed financing from private investors; that money also will not be available until the DWAC deal closes.
Digital World’s activities have come under scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, according to a regulatory filing, and the deal is likely months away from closing. — Julia Love and Helen Coster, with Ahmed Aboulenein, (c) 2022 Reuters