In recent months, we have taken to outlining the social media landscape as many conservatives seek safe haven from Big Tech censorship and being canceled for wrongthink. The highly anticipated Trump backed social media project, Truth Social, was sold as the social media product that would migrate a large audience—that is republicans and Trump’s twitter following over to his app. In my previous article where I touched on Truth Social, I essentially argued that Trump’s people were raising money on the stock market without a product. At the time such activity was suspicious and abnormal and should rightfully have been met with scrutiny. Thus, the debut of Truth Social will serve as yet another failed Alt-Tech.
Failure at Launch
Truth Social finally debuted on February 21, but exclusively on Apple. At launch, there was no Android or desktop version of the app. The deference towards Apple allowed Truth to gain rapidly in the App Store, only for users to be stuck on wait list behind hundreds of thousands of users, whether real or fictitious.
CEO Devin Nunes, former congressman and dairy farmer, claims that the full version will be operational by the end of March, but needless to say this is an embarrassment and will lead to immediate churn. The failure to launch a full product available to all users, along with the “waitlisting” of users, represents a detrimental error for Truth Social. Users will lose interest and the excitement will erode if users are unable to access the app or service. This goes for even Donald Trump.
One can get leniency for a glitchy launch, as early adopters are often forgiving of such, but the product has to be usable and accessible. Creating a waitlist and selling that as buzz is ridiculous. The waitlist should have come before the launch of the app. The company should have recruited early adopters, say half a million emails, and have been capable of handling their capacity at launch. This is a failure that derives when the management has zero experience in technology companies.
Trump Tuned Out
Donald Trump is no stranger to slapping his name on something that either succeeds or goes bankrupt (intentional or otherwise). For someone who was deplatformed following the events on January 6, one would expect that the biggest salesman for Truth Social would be Donald J. Trump, but Trump’s interest and engagement in his own service has been nonexistent, to which has justifiably attracted the derision of leftist media. Thus far, he has made only his initial post and has under 100K followers when he had nearly 90 million on Twitter. As I previously mentioned, Trump is the secret sauce to Truth Social and the company was transparent that Trump would migrate an audience to Truth Social.
If Donald Trump is going to abandon his social media company like he did the January 6 protesters, why should potential users bother to follow him to a platform the former president does not use? Moreover, Trump’s disengagement with Truth Social appears to be in line with his leadership style, where he offloads the riskier aspects of the job onto another so he can take credit for their success or attribute blame in failure. This was how he managed his White House and how he managed the pandemic, where he offloaded onto Mike Pence and Fauci while remaining absent from the taskforce meetings. Like his presidency, the failure goes all the way to the top, and when Truth Social officially goes down in flames, and as legal scrutiny from the SEC subsequently arises, that will rightfully fall on Donald Trump.
Not a Free Speech Platform
In order to get on the App Store, Truth Social cannot be a fully free speech alternative so they must bend the knee to Big Tech. In many ways, their Terms of Service are like that of GETTR, which is like that of Twitter. Under the section of User Generated Contribution, the TOS includes the following:
your Contributions are not false, inaccurate, or misleading.
your Contributions are not obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, violent, harassing, libelous, slanderous, or otherwise objectionable.
The second term identified is comparable to GETTR, with those same terms being undefined and the catch-all “otherwise objectionable” thrown in. The “false, inaccurate, or misleading” was not included on GETTR’s TOS, though they could ban such content as they pleased based on how it is written.
What Truth Social defines as “fake news” remains to be seen. Would criticism of Trump’s failed vaccines be permitted on Truth Social? While CNN will happily disseminate fake news, would the site ban them, or would they instead more likely ban those on the fringes who offer controversial reporting?
The following are terms for user interactive content:
(2) your Interactive Content should not contain profanity, or abusive or racist, language;
(3) your Interactive Content should not contain discriminatory references based on religion, race, gender, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, or disability;
(7) you may not post any false, unlawful, threatening, defamatory, harassing or misleading statements;
(8) you may not post any indecent, , pornographic, profane, or other unlawful statements;
The references to illegal or pornographic content aside, Truth Social is anything but “free speech” on paper and is more restrictive that GETTR, which did more of a blanketed statement of what is and is not permitted on their site. The reference to “sexual orientation” was not included in GETTR’s TOS nor was there a reference to disability. For example, calling someone “retarded” could get you banned on Truth, even though one is likely using that as a descriptor for someone who does not have Down Syndrome. Also what is profanity, abusive, or even racist? We have seen Twitch crack down on “cracka” as a slur. Would calling someone an “incel”
be considered an attack on their marital status?
Already, Truth has arbitrarily banned the account “@DevinNunesCow” which is a parody of Devin Nunes from Twitter. They have also marked Stew Peters as sensitive content for claiming “The people in our government responsible for allowing our kids to be killed with these dangerous Covid shots, should be put on trial and executed.”
The initial buzz of Truth Social represented the high-water mark for the aspiring alt-tech. At the end of the day, it is little different from GETTR, which only got a second breath because of Joe Rogan. One cannot simply create their own social media and expect it to catch on due to their name recognition alone, though if anyone could, that man was Donald Trump, who seems disinterested in his own product.
Currently, the SPAC Digital World Acquisition Company trades in excess of $70/share. Any failure would be catastrophic towards the share price, and the options market is catching on. Investors who foolishly banked on Truth could lose bigly, and the government could rightfully go after Trump or his cronies for this financial debacle.
Gab represents the only true free speech platform and should be the primary destination for any seeking an alternative to Facebook and Twitter. It is time more on the right acknowledge this. After Canada ordered the debanking and financial seizures of private individuals, perhaps Trump should have colluded to form a bank, but that would have been less glamorous for the 2024 presidential hopeful. Alt-tech fatigue is real, and the more failed experiments Conservative Inc propagates, the stronger Big Tech becomes.