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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Donald Trump launches social network called Truth Social

Trump banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube following the deadly riot at the Capitol says the social network was created to "fight back against Big Tech."

Former President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he’s launching a new social network called Truth Social, whose goal is to push back against Big Tech, according to a press release purported to come from one of his companies. The Trump Media and Technology Group, which made the announcement, said the social network will begin a limited beta launch in November, with a wider rollout expected in the first quarter of 2022.

“I created Truth Social and TMGT to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech,” Trump said in the press release sent to the media. “We live in a world where the Taliban has a presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American president has been silenced.”

There’s a site for Truth Social where people can join a waiting list for the social network, as well as a link to preorder the iOS app. Screenshots of the app suggest Truth will have profile pages with a Twitter-like timeline of posts.

Read more: Dangerous precedent set by banning Trump, Twitter Chief

Plans to launch a new social network underscore how Trump is trying to rejoin the online public conversation after Twitter, Facebook and Google-owned YouTube booted him from their platforms following the deadly US Capitol Hill riot in January.

Trump’s use of Twitter redefined politics, letting him sidestep mainstream media to try to take hold of the political narrative. But Twitter permanently banned Trump on Jan. 8, two days after a mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol building in a riot that left several people dead, including a Capitol Police officer. Twitter said the ban was “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

Facebook said Trump would be suspended from its platform until at least 2023. The social network would then “look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded.” Facebook made the decision after a board tasked with reviewing its toughest content moderation decisions upheld Trump’s suspension from the platform. YouTube has said it would lift Trump’s suspension from its platform when the “risk of violence has decreased.”

The former president sued those platforms alongside Twitter, alleging censorship and First Amendment violations, even though the First Amendment applies to the government, not to private companies like social media sites. Trump has for some time claimed without evidence that the companies discriminate against the right, a charge the firms have repeatedly denied.

Launching a new social network

Trump has been talking about creating his own social network since he got barred from Twitter, Facebook and Google.

In March, Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Trump, told Fox News the former president would return with his own social media platform in “two or three months.” Trump started his own official blog in May, but he shut it down one month later.

Read more: Facebook does not plan to lift ban on Trump

Despite the creation of a new social media platform, Trump hasn’t forsaken Twitter. Earlier this month, the former president asked a US district judge to grant a preliminary injunction that would restore his account while his lawsuit against Twitter wends its way through the courts.

TMTG has agreed to merge with Digital World Acquisition Group, a Miami-based company listed on the Nasdaq, to form a new company chaired by Trump, according to the press release.

Digital World Acquisition Group is a special purpose acquisition company, or “blank check company,” according to a May filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. SPACs are shell corporations with no commercial operations listed on a public stock exchange with the purpose of acquiring or merging with a private company, thus making it public as well.

Neither Digital World Acquisition Group nor a representative for Trump immediately responded to requests for comment.

Read more: YouTube temporarily bans US President Donald Trump

Trump’s effort to build his own social network is already facing some challenges. The Washington Post reported that an image of a defecating pig to the “donaldjtrump” account of what appeared to be an unreleased test version of the site has been pulled down.

Reuters with additional input by GVS News Desk