After months of teasing, former President Donald Trump has finally announced the name of his new social network: Truth.
Truth Social, which is scheduled to officially launch in early 2022, is just one part of a much bigger and more ambitious effort to dominate pretty much every aspect of people’s digital lives.
Through his new company called Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG), the ex-president plans to unseat Facebook and Twitter and also challenge Netflix, Hulu and Disney with a “non-woke” streaming service—plus, he’s even set on challenging Amazon’s cloud computing service AWS and Stripe’s payment technology with TMTG’s “tech stack.”
But those products are for the future. For now, all the focus will be on Truth, which Trump is pitching as “America’s Big Tech social media platform,” where every person and every opinion is welcome—unless you insult Trump or his website, of course.
“As a user of the Site, you agree not to disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the Site,” the platform’s Terms of Service say.
In a press release announcing his shiny new toy, Trump made the reasons for launching Truth Social pretty clear.
“I created TRUTH Social and TMTG to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech,”
Trump wrote in a statement. “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.”
The company has not outlined its strategy for making money, though it will be getting a cash injection after it announced a deal with a blank check company—an entity solely to pool resources to fund a merger or take a company public—that has links to China.
Trump’s bold claims of taking on giants like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Disney, and Google are pretty ambitious for someone who was unable to even run a blog for more than a month. And evidence of the challenges ahead became clear almost immediately.
Within minutes of the platform being announced, people had found a way to register fake Donald Trump accounts, and one of them posted a picture of a pig with swollen testicles taking a dump.
Here’s everything you need to know about Trump’s new social network and plans for digital media domination:
Trump might not be tweeting anymore, but he may soon be “Truthing.”
According to the former president’s statement, the name of a post on the new social network will be a Truth. “I am excited to send out my first Truth on Truth Social,” Trump said, setting up the prospect of him using the platform to spread lies that he can legitimately call “Truths.”
Those interested in signing up for Truth Social can register their interest now, and the site will officially launch in the first quarter of next year—though a beta version will open to some users next month.
The site also contains a link to the Apple App Store, though no link to Google’s app store is listed.
A video posted to alternative video-sharing site Rumble shows what the Truth app will look like on a mobile device, and it’s almost identical to Twitter, with a vertical feed of posts featuring videos and images that users can reply to directly in the feed.
After the site was announced, some online sleuths found a URL for the mobile version of the website that allowed users to sign up and create accounts. One of those was journalist Mikael Thalen, who registered the @donaldtrump user name:
Another user was able to register the @donaldjtrump account, and began posting images, giving everyone an early glimpse of what the site will look like:
Yet another user posted an account in the name of Ron Watkins, the QAnon influencer and congressional candidate:
The URL was ultimately closed off and the newly created accounts were deleted, but it’s an indication of just how Trump opponents will likely try to spam the site once it does open up—just as happened with Gettr, the social network launched for former Trump aide Jason Miller earlier this year.
Terms of service
Trump is pitching Truth as a social network for everyone. In a slide in the TMTG pitch deck, it suggests that the platform will be a place where people from all ideologies will be welcome.
However, in the platform’s Terms of Service, the company takes a much less welcoming approach when outlining how it will deal with people and opinions it doesn’t like.
Besides prohibiting people from saying anything negative about Trump or the site in general, Truth Social also reserves the right to ban accounts for “any reason or no reason.”
“We may terminate your use or participation in the site or delete your account and any content or information that you posted at any time, without warning, in our sole discretion,” according to the Terms of Service.
So it’s less “Everyone is welcome,” and more “You’re welcome as long as you say nice things about Trump.”
As well as banning anyone who criticizes Trump, the site also has some interesting rules about capital letters.
Among the list of prohibited activities is the “excessive use of capital letters.” The people who wrote these conditions may want to check with their boss if this one will apply to him, given how much he enjoyed tweeting in all caps before he was banned from Twitter earlier this year.
Another condition that Trump may have trouble abiding by is one that prohibits users from “harassing, abusing, or harming another person.”
Again, Trump spent most of his time on Twitter doing exactly this—often in all-caps tweets—so it's unclear how he will be able to restrain himself from blasting his political opponents, the mainstream media, celebrities, sports stars, and pretty much everyone else who doesn’t agree with him.
Trump’s digital empire
A pitch deck on the TMTG website lays out Trump’s grand vision for dominating the digital media world in the coming years.
In addition to Truth Social, which is positioned as a direct challenger to Facebook and Twitter, TMTG will launch two streaming services.
The first will be TMTG+, which the company says will feature “non-woke
entertainment programming, news, podcasts, and more.” Heading up this
service as leader of TMTG+ Corporate Operations will be Scott St. John, who was an executive producer on shows like Deal or No Deal and America’s Got Talent.
The company’s website also features a listing for a service called TMTG News but provides no information on when this will launch—though the pitch deck does list CNN as one of the companies it will challenge.
The third pillar of Trump’s digital media domination will be TMTG “tech stack,” about which the pitch deck provides no information beyond the claim that it will somehow provide cloud computing services to challenge market leaders Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. It also lists Stripe, the $100 billion company, that provides the payment technology that powers huge swaths of the online economy.
While in office, Trump was highly critical of China’s trade policies—while still managing to praise the country’s authoritarian leader Xi Jinping and overlooking the heinous human rights abuses perpetrated against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.
Trump’s tariffs against China and the trade war his administration waged against the country were hugely damaging to U.S. trade relationships.
So it was no surprise that TMTG appeared to make reference to the Chinese funding of Gettr, Miller’s social network, which is funded by exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui. In an image in its pitch deck that suggested Truth could become a unifying force for conservative media and social networks, the Gettr logo appears to feature the Chinese flag as a background.
What the pitch deck didn’t highlight, however, were the links between TMTG and China.
Trump's new media company will be funded with the help of Digital World
Acquisitions, a blank check company based in Miami, according to the press release issued on Wednesday night. DWAG, a so-called special purpose acquisition company, will help TMTG become a publicly traded company, according to the press release.
The CEO of that company, Patrick Orlando, is also CEO of Yunhong International, which itself is an international blank check company incorporated in the Cayman Islands with headquarters in Wuhan, China.
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