Former President Donald Trump hoped to make a splash with his Truth Social network by launching on Presidents’ Day, but that would no longer be possible courtesy of delays.
February 24th is as fitting as it gets to launch a social platform backed massively by a former president. It was supposed to be the official release of the brand new Truth Social, a social network site floated by former US President Donald Trump. However, based on reports from The New York times, fans and loyalists of the former president will have to wait until March to connect on the platform.
Trump decided to create his own social platform after being booted out of popular networks like Twitter, where he spent a lot of time before and during his presidency. The marching orders resulted from his role and comments regarding the January 6th riot at the US Capitol as President Joe Biden’s victory was formalized.
The social network, known as Truth Social, has been open to about 500 testers, and Trump himself has posted his first ‘truth,’ the equivalent of a tweet. He promised his supporters they would soon hear from him, suggesting he plans to use the same no-holds-barred Twitter approach on his new platform. While Trump can’t cross-post on Twitter, his son amplified the post by putting a screenshot of the truth on his own Twitter feed.
Apparently, not every beta tester follows the former president’s Truth Social account because he had 317 followers as Reuters’s last update. Compared to his almost 90 million followers on Twitter before his infamous ban, Trump has no audience yet.
Meanwhile, Truth Social has run into some troubles even before this reported postponement. It had to sort out an allegation of misusing an open-use technology for building the platform. The special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that Trump wants to use to take his media company public is also the subject of an investigation by the Securities Exchange Commission, a likely factor in the delay of the platform’s launch.
Apart from troubles, Truth Social looks so much like Twitter that you could confuse screenshots of the two. Apparently, the developers are following what works or what potential users are familiar with.
Truth Social is Trump’s second attempt at creating a platform to connect with his supporters. He tried blogging but quickly abandoned it, likely realizing his fans prefer the micro-blogging convenience of Twitter.
The social platform is being handled by the Trump Media and Technology Group, headed by former US Rep Devin Nunes. The app has been confirmed to be coming to iOS devices, but nothing has been shared concerning an Android version, although it is very likely, if Trump wants to reach as many people as possible.
Whether the new social media platform will become a success is open to debate. Truth Social promises an environment where free speech can exist without the overbearing interference of Big Tech. However, it is not the first app to offer such. One of the most famous examples is Parler, which gave free rein to its users. The social network soon realized the difficulty of balancing preventing bad characters from taking over the platform and not regulating free speech. Apple and Google kicked the app out of their stores while Amazon yanked Parler off its servers.
At best, Parler and the likes exist on the sidelines and have not got into the mainstream, quickly becoming echo chambers for like-minded people. As Shannon McGregor, journalism and media professor at the University of North Carolina, puts it, “There is an audience and a market, but it is not huge. Most people don’t want a version of the internet where anything goes.”