President Trump announced today the pending launch of a new social network called Truth Social, whose stated goal is to “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech,” according to a press release.
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. TMTG has agreed to merge with Digital World Acquisition Group, a Miami-based company listed on Nasdaq, to form a new company chaired by Trump, according to that same press release.
“I created Truth Social and TMGT to stand 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.”
“I’m excited to soon be sharing my thoughts on Truth Social and to fight back against Big Tech,” Trump said.
Up to now, the only hint we’d received regarding Trump’s social media plans came from Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Trump, who in March told Fox News that Trump would return with his own social media platform in “two or three months.” Trump did start his own official blog in May, but shut it down only a month later after attracting very few readers. Press releases posted to Twitter and Facebook from “The Office of the 45th President” actually attracted more traffic, demonstrating once again the massive reach of the two most popular social media platforms.
Trump knows better than everyone the power of the major social media platforms, as his massive following on Twitter alone redefined politics forever. For the first time in history, a political candidate was able to effectively sidestep the mainstream media in order to push back against MSM narratives or create narratives of his own. He has since lost that power, as his reach of over 100 million followers has been wiped from existence with the ban.
Trump didn’t want to start his own platform, of course. He began by taking his preferred method of dealing with most problems: litigation. Trump sued the major platforms for his ban, alleging censorship and First Amendment violations, even though the First Amendment protects citizens from government penalty, not social media sites. While he did face an uphill climb in court, however, his case did raise very important questions about the informational power held by companies like Facebook and Twitter. If they can silence a President of the United States, after all, there is no limit to who they can stop.
Throughout his presidency, Trump had a contentious relationship with social media giants, complaining that social media sites demonstrate a bias against conservative voices. And if you happen to be a conservative voice, you likely know exactly to what he is referring. Conservatives are routinely suspended and/or banned for offenses that those on the Left do commonly with impunity. That’s not to speak of practices like shadow banning, wherein a conservative voice loses its audience without notification. In 2018, Trump loudly accused Twitter of shadow banning himself and other conservatives on its platform. Twitter said it was a bug, which is laughable considering this ‘bug’ only seems to affect the Right.
But just like with the media who hate and abuse him, Trump has an acute case of Stockholm Syndrome with the social media establishment, as he has continued to seek restoration of his account(s). Earlier this month, he 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. He has had no luck.
And that’s what brings us to now.
Digital World Acquisition Group is a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), 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, this making it public as well. The next few months will be spent dotting I’s and crossing T’s, administratively speaking.
We should also hope these next few months are spent creating a user-friendly product that is able to attract people other than Trump supporters, because frankly, we need this venture to succeed. And when I say “we” I am not referring to Trump voters, Trump supporters or Trump himself. I mean we as a country. The vast majority of social media users are on just a few different platforms, which gives those platforms immense informational power. As we found out in the 2020 election, that is a recipe for disaster.
It’s a disaster for those who want information on non-Swamp candidates to be freely circulated, unlike the mountain of corruption that was hidden in 2020 to protect Joe Biden. And those who felt that funny business was afoot in the execution of the election should want to have a free market of ideas, so to speak, so as to bring attention to whatever shadiness demands it.
Unfortunately, Facebook isn’t dumb. They know they can get away with censoring anything they want–from opposition research to election fraud investigations to vaccine dissent–and they’ll suffer no consequences. And they’ll suffer no consequences because the people hurt by these actions will not do anything about it. People stay and take the abuse for a variety of reasons. It could be that they won’t have an audience anywhere else and/or don’t want to wait to build a new one. It could be that friends and family won’t leave Facebook because they’re not affected by these things, thus the affected family member stays as well. Or it may just be that one is accustomed to the Facebook layout and doesn’t want to have to learn a new one.
It’s for these reasons that Trump and his partners must get this right. Once the new platform is launched, there will be a migration like no other small platform has enjoyed. Whether all the new users on this platform stay for a while or go right back to Facebook depends upon the factors listed above.
Trump is a big draw but he is not enough on his own to overcome a clunky user experience, not with the juggernaut he’s facing. Functionality is key. Also key will be the willingness of conservative talking heads to migrate over with their audiences. That will require a measure of sacrifice from people who are accustomed to cashing in big paydays on their Facebook audiences, but it will be necessary if we’re actually going to establish a safe haven for information.
I submit that this new platform needs to be a unifying movement, not simply a website that allows President Trump to post without fear of being banned. Regardless of one’s feelings about Trump, we must recognize that this is bigger than him. This is about taking all of our eggs out of a basket that can’t wait to break them at the most crucial moments.
Build it well. Make it usable for the tech-challenged. Attract big names. With time, and with enough people already on board, people who have nothing and/or want nothing to do with politics will inevitably make their way over. It is at that point that we will have won. The Left will no longer own social media and we’ll have a fighting chance to wake up a large percentage of the country from the robotic slumber under which they’ve been placed.
This is not about Trump; it’s about truth and its incubation. Trump just happens to be the first beneficiary, which is fine by me. And if done correctly, in due time, it will be just fine by America.
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