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Three Black and disabled folx (a non-binary person in a power wheelchair, a femme leaning against a wall, and a non-binary person standing with a cane) engaged in conversation. All three are outdoors and in front of a building with two large windows.

BY Leo Hynett

Technology

Trump to Launch His Own Social Media Platform: TRUTH Social

Following his ban from multiple mainstream social media platforms, Donald Trump has come up with a creative solution to make his voice heard.

OCTOBER 21  2021

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The TRUTH is out there.

Having been banned from multiple mainstream social media platforms, Donald Trump is launching one of his own called TRUTH Social. TRUTH Social claims to challenge the ‘liberal media consortium’ by hosting ‘open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating against political ideology.’

Until his bans from Twitter and Facebook, social media was Donald Trump’s favourite way to communicate with his supporters throughout his presidency. It is hardly surprising that he has sought a way to regain a platform and, as no one else would allow him on theirs, he chose to build his own.

An important announcement

According to a recent press release from the Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), the Beta version of TRUTH Social for invited guests will launch in November 2021 with a nationwide rollout expected in the first quarter of 2022.

I created TRUTH Social and TMTG to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech. We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced. This is unacceptable. I am excited to send out my first TRUTH on TRUTH Social very soon.’

For those fond of science fiction, the similarities between the all caps word ‘TRUTH’ and the capitalised slogans on the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s 1984 are hard to miss. As Trump tries to break away from the restrictions of ‘Big Tech’, he has begun to sound eerily like Big Brother.

Every mention of Donald Trump in the TMTG press release still refers to him as President. This leans into an ongoing QAnon conspiracy that Donald Trump did not lose the election and is still President of the United States. Supporting this conspiracy theory in the press release that announces this ‘honest’ social media platform fuels concerns about the platform’s integrity.

 

What will the platform be like?

You would expect to have the freedom to post whatever you like on the site given the reasons behind its creation. However, the Terms of Service dictate that users cannot do anything to ‘annoy’ staff or ‘disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, [staff] and/or the Site.’

Amusingly, users are also not allowed to make ‘excessive use of capital letters.’

So, despite the site’s intentions, there are still rules that dictate what can and can’t be said on the platform. The only difference between this and other social media platforms is that it is Trump that decides whether or not your posts are acceptable. TRUTH Social has not removed the ‘censorship’ Trump condemned, it has simply made him the censor.

Screenshots of the app – which is available to pre-order on the app store – look a lot like Twitter.

TRUTH Social will undoubtedly create an echo chamber in which people will only interact with those who share their views. Although the site would theoretically be open to left-leaning users, they are unlikely to gravitate towards a site designed for Trump and those who share his views. Creating such a closed political platform would mean that people were not exposed to contrasting views – something that is vital for increasing tolerance and reducing things like racism and homophobia.

There have also already been security concerns voiced about the site as it was hacked within hours of its announcement. It has been argued that the site was not ready yet and thus not fully protected, but the fact remains that it was compromised within hours. This initial failure does not bode well for the future of the site’s security. Flying in the face of the website’s core ideals, those who managed to get onto the site have already found themselves banned.

 

The broader plan

Trump’s plan goes beyond social media: ‘TMTG intends to launch a subscription video on demand service (TMTG+) [which] will feature “non-woke” entertainment programming, news, podcasts, and more.’ The goal seems to be that by creating a massive presence, TMTG will become ‘non-cancellable’ by virtue of its huge scale.

TMTG intends to unify the ‘fragmented “non-Big Tech” universe’ but has offered little detail on how this will come to pass. Large claims and minimal details seem to be the order of the day:

‘​​Their current approach to quantifying the media company’s potential audience seems to be more art than science. In one slide [of the 22-page company presentation] 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”.’

The vagueness of their corporate presentation and the dubious wording of their press release does not seem to have put investors off. TMTG plans to go public by merging with a SPAC called Digital World Acquisition Company (DWAC); ‘once this news broke, DWAC’s stock surged 400% and it looks likely to be the next meme stock.’

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