Old President TrumpJudge Donald Trump will dismiss Arkansas legislative map challenge unless DOJ joins caseThe new social media platform is expected to go public on Monday.
There are still many unknowns about how Truth Social works and whether it can successfully compete with mainstream platforms or their conservative alternatives.
More than a year after Trump was suspended from Facebook and Twitter, the platform could play a key role in raising awareness among his base as he eyes a presidential election in 2024.
Here are five things we’ll be looking for when launching Truth Social:
What will the platform look like?
Truth Social is expected to be available on Apple’s App Store starting Monday, although former CEO Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesSunday shows preview: US reaffirms support for Ukraine amid threat of Russian invasion Florida Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick sworn in as new House member GOP lawmaker joins to term limit pledge, will not stand for re-election MORE (R-Calif.) has previously said it won’t be fully operational until late March.
According to a beta tester who got early access, the platform isn’t quite ready for prime time just yet.
“The app still has a lot of issues,” Ben Rabizadeh, founder and CEO of social investment platform Story Trading, told The Hill on Friday. “The major problem with the app is that it’s slow, it’s slow.”
Users were asked to post, like and repost other content to test the platform’s bandwidth on Thursday night, a capacity experiment that slowed items loading.
Rabizadeh described the platform’s layout as visually similar to Twitter, Trump’s favorite platform while in office.
“The design is clean,” he added. “When you look at a screenshot, it looks like Twitter, but when you use it, the feed is very different.”
Some of Twitter’s features like direct messaging haven’t been implemented yet, while others like quoting someone’s “truth” don’t seem to be available on the platform.
Videos uploaded to Truth Social are hosted by YouTube contributor and competitor Rumble.
Using Trump’s followers on the platform as an estimate, as of Friday there were around 1.8 thousand registered users.
Among those were lawmakers, including the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyMcCarthy endorses Cheney’s main challenger, Lou Dobbs says he’d be thrilled if Jim Jordan is Speaker of the House, calls McCarthy a Sergeant-at-Arms ‘RINO’ says all members of Congress can attend state of the Union MORE (R-California) and Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzLou Dobbs says he’d be excited about Jim Jordan as Speaker of the House, calls McCarthy a ‘RINO’. CPAC’s straw poll is the first Trump vs. DeSantis. (R-Fla.); media personalities like Fox Maria BartiromoBartiromo by Maria Sara BartiromoFox: White House plays on Russia-Ukraine crisis to distract from ‘what Hillary Clinton did’ Trump says he won’t boycott Beijing Olympics and Charlie Kirk; and conservative figures such as attorney Jenna Ellis to Kyle Rittenhouse.
Twitter co-founder and current Block CEO Jack Dorsey has a reserved username but does not appear to have claimed it.
What level of content moderation should users expect?
Truth Social has called itself a beacon of free speech amid what its founders see as a sea of liberal social media platforms censoring conservative voices.
But much like platforms attempting to play this role before it, Truth Social will likely face the reality sooner or later that it will have to moderate certain content if it is to be hosted on major app stores and retain advertisers.
Speak, the Twitter alternative currently favored by conservatives, was removed from Apple and Google app stores and abandoned by Amazon’s web hosting services soon after the Jan. 6 uprising. The platform eventually folded and offered an iPhone version that bans hate speech.
On Friday, Truth Social’s Community Guidelines tab was redirected to a dead Truthsocial.com link. And while users chosen to test the platform have so far enthusiastically posted about the app, it’s almost certain that users who once join its audience will try to push the boundaries of acceptable content.
Experts will be watching closely what rules the platform eventually adopts when this happens.
“The main thing that interests me is whether whoever runs this platform is going to allow it to become a site for conspiracy theorists and white supremacists,” said Paul Barrett, deputy director of the NYU Stern Center for Business. and Human Rights, says La Colline.
Can it compete with the giants?
Facebook and Twitter’s decisions to suspend Trump following the Jan. 6 uprising have been seen as a potential turning point for alternative social media platforms to capitalize on his supporters’ frustration.
And while there was an initial spike in downloads and activity on fringe networks, they stay eclipsed by Silicon Valley companies.
Talking was the most successful in gaining users. The app has been downloaded around 11.3 million times this week, according to Sensor Tower data shared with The Hill.
Getter, launched by former Trump campaign aide Jason Miller in July, reached 6.6 million downloads, and Rumble reached 4.6 million downloads, according to the data.
But the mainstream platforms with their hundreds of millions of users have continued to maintain their dominance in the space, even among notable right-wing figures who criticize their policies. Dan Bongino, early Rumble investor and Fox host, for example, has repeatedly threatened to quit Twitter over what he calls censorship, but remains active on the platform.
One factor that could give Truth Social an edge over other right-leaning platforms is Trump.
The former president has not signed up for any new social media and still wields immense influence over his millions of followers. Trump’s statements continue to make headlines, and if he starts posting them on Truth Social instead of distributing them via email, media attention will most likely follow.
What does Trump have to gain?
Trump has been looking for ways to galvanize his base since being removed from Facebook and Twitter last year. He has yet to join any of the alternative platforms, and his blog site launched in May shut down after just 29 days.
But Truth Social gives Trump a platform to speak directly to his constituents — and raise money.
“I think we’ll have to see what they eventually unveil and how successful it will be. But clearly, it’s about keeping his name in the blood of Republican voters so he continues to have an opportunity to run,” GOP strategist Doug Heye said.
The platform could also offer Trump a way to maintain his influence in the Republican primaries ahead of the midterm elections.
“It will also potentially come in handy for him in state and congressional races where he seems very concerned about the fortunes of his loyalist candidates,” Barrett said, noting the president’s support for a challenger to Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyMcCarthy endorses Cheney’s main challenger CPAC straw poll is first Trump against DeSantis Republican primary voters divided over RNC censorship of Cheney and Kinzinger: MORE poll (R-Wyo.).
If you’re a Trump-backed candidate, the platform lets you “have a conversation with [Trump’s voters] through him,” Heye said – but it all depends on the success of the business.
Who is involved in the platform?
Nunes, a key Trump ally, will run Trump’s media company.
The former representative was set to chair the powerful Ways and Means Committee if Republicans win the House in November, but Nunes said in December he would step down from Congress to be CEO of the new company.
“Now is the time to reopen the internet and allow the free flow of ideas and expression without censorship. The United States of America has made the dream of the Internet a reality and it will be an American company that restores the dream,” Nunes said in a statement announcing his position as CEO of the company.
Shortly after Nunes announced he would be joining the CEO role, Trump’s media company announced that it had signed an agreement with Rumble to provide video and streaming to Truth Social.
Financier Patrick Orlando is also linked to the company as the head of the blank check company, Digital World Acquisition Corp., which has partnered with Trump Media and Technology Group.
In December, Trump’s company said it secured $1 billion in backing from a “diverse group of institutional investors,” before going public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
The efforts had a rocky start even before launch. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating the proposed merger, Digital World disclosed in a filing in December.