Donald Trump announced Wednesday the launch of TRUTH, his new social media platform, to great fanfare – but some of the former president’s supporters are ambivalent about his latest venture.
Can Trump succeed where so many on the right have failed and create a viable alternative to Big Tech’s hegemonic control of the virtual public square?
The newly created Trump Media and Technology Group will roll out a beta version of TRUTH Social sometime in November, the company said in a press release.
🚨President Donald J. Trump Announces Trump Media & Technology Group🚨
“I created TRUTH Social and TMTG to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech…
I am excited to send out my first TRUTH on TRUTH Social very soon…” pic.twitter.com/TCZVYq1VJQ
— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) October 21, 2021
A nationwide launch is expected early next year.
- “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,” Trump said in the statement.
- According to Trump, who was banned from leading social media platforms in January, the site’s goal is to push back against the silencing of “opposing voices in America” to “give a voice to all.”
- The TRUTH Social app is currently available for pre-order in the Apple app store.
A number of conservative commentators who are sympathetic to Trump and antagonistic toward Big Tech nonetheless foresaw problems for TRUTH.
- User experience: The likes of Parler and Gab “lack innovation and end up looking and feeling like knocks offs,” tweeted Matt Walsh of The Daily Wire.
- Homogeneity: “It will only attract Trump fans” and “Echo chambers are boring,” he added.
- Self-marginalization: “Twitter can be used by the right to drive the conversation and bring issues to the forefront that the media wants to bury,” Walsh said. “I’ve succeeded in doing that many times here. There is zero chance of achieving that on an insular right wing social network.”
“The purpose of being on here is info sharing but also confronting the people in charge of creating false narratives (journalists),” agreed The Federalist columnist Eddie Scarry.
Becoming the enemy?: Axios political reporter Lachlan Markay, meanwhile, highlighted the non-disparagement clause in TRUTH Social’s terms of service, which ostensibly prohibits users from expressing negative opinions of the site.
The terms of service for Trump's new social media site contain a non-disparagement clause pic.twitter.com/ZuBlfTfMlm
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) October 21, 2021
THE TRACK RECORD
A handful of social media startups, like Gab, Parler and GETTR, have popped up in recent years, hoping to coax conservatives away from the dominant platforms.
- But they have been plagued by bugs, bad press and bans from hosting services and app stores.
- None have managed to capture anywhere near a significant market share.
“Maybe Trump’s new social media platform will fix these problems but I’m skeptical,” Walsh said.