Truth Social: What is Donald Trump’s new social media platform really about?

Will TRUTH Social ensure Donal Trump's comeback on the political stage?
Will TRUTH Social ensure Donal Trump's comeback on the political stage?   -   Copyright  TMTG
By Euronews  with AFP

On Monday, all eyes were on Donald Trump as he launched his social network after being banned in from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube over a year ago.

Named Truth Social, the new platform - which has been likened in appearance to Twitter - was presented as “America’s “Big Tent” social media platform when it was announced in 2021, one that encourages an open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating against political ideology".

The former US president’s latest creation was conceived after the mainstream tech giants banned him following the January 6 riot at the Capitol, which he was accused of encouraging using his social media platforms.

But what does this comeback mean for the social media landscape?

Truth vs tyranny of the tech giants

With Truth Social, the former President said he wanted to "stand up to the tyranny of the tech giants", who have "used their unilateral power to silence dissenting voices in America", he said in a statementin October.

The platform is owned by the newly-formed Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), a structure that envisaged also providing a video-on-demand (VOD) service and ‘non-woke’ podcasts, the statement said.

"We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter while your favourite American president has been silenced. This is unacceptable," Trump continued.

Five people died during or shortly after Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol in the weeks before President Biden's inauguration ceremony. Twitter then banned Trump indefinitely because of the “risk of further incitement to violence," cutting him off from his nearly 89 million followers.

Furious at no longer having access to his favourite megaphone, the former president promised to create a social network.

Truth Social was made available to testers in February, before a general launch on Monday when it hit the top of the downloads chart on Apple's App Store.

Nothing but the Truth?

The unfounded notion that Democrats stole the presidency from the Republicans in 2020 should take pride of place on the billionaire's new platform.

It has already attracted many supporters, some of which are convinced there was electoral fraud during the last US election.

It is on this base of supporters that the former president is expected to at least consider launching a new campaign in 2024, with a view to a return to the White House. It's still hotly debated whether he will or not.

To date, Trump has only outlined his intentions of returning to power, without ever confirming them. But that’s not the only purpose for Truth Social.

After conducting a business plan overview and sharing it openly, TMTG said in October that it will be offering videos on demand, and consequently become a direct competitor to Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime.

The British news site The Guardian analysed TMTG’s ambitions by paying attention not only to the graphic skills, but also the lack of logic behind the slides.

"Their current approach to quantifying the media company’s potential audience seems to be more art than science," the newspaper wrote.

"In one slide they look at how many people listen to podcasts and watch Netflix; from there they extrapolate that TMTG can get “potentially hundreds of millions of users".

TMTG
TMTG's 'Big tent' approachTMTG

As for the economic plan, TMTG is to merge with Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC) in order to be listed, the statement said.

DWAC is a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (Spac), a company with no commercial activity whose purpose is to raise funds by going public and then merge with a target company that wants to be listed, in this case Donald Trump's new group.

DWAC is listed on the Nasdaq index and, according to the release, Donald Trump's new group would be valued at $875 million (€ 752 million).

TMTG
TRUTH Social claims to build a "non-cancellable" global communityTMTG

Rocky beginnings

Despite just launching, the new social media platform suffered technical glitches on Monday. with users getting error messages.

Barely introduced as a concept, the Truth Social platform was already hijacked in October: a journalist from the American website The Daily Dot opened an account in Trump's name once the URL to the Truth's registration form was shared on the Internet.

Mikael Thalen, a specialist in social networks and data leaks, was able to create a profile using Donald Trump's famous Twitter photo and the username @donaldtrump.

The site was quickly taken offline and the account in Trump's name deleted.

He was not the only one, French Huffington Post reported. Several conspiracy theorists and people close to Trump suffered the same fate, with users quickly creating a fake account for them.

Among them, the son of the former head of state Donald Trump Jr was given a fake account, publishing offensive or vulgar images and messages before, once again, being deleted.

Another element Twitter users noted was the flagrant resemblance with another social media platform, Mastodon.

When reading the terms of service, Truth Social does not follow any of its fellow social media comrades though. Users must agree not to “annoy” any of the employees and not to “disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the site”.