By Anna Thomas | Contributor
Ex-President Donald Trump has announced plans to launch a rival social media app ‘TRUTH Social’ following his suspension from various platforms earlier this year.
During his presidential term, Trump was notorious for his frequent and oftentimes divisive use of social media. Whilst in office, Trump shared more than 16,000 tweets and racked up a staggering 88.7 million followers making him one of the most wide-reaching accounts on the platform.
However, following the storming of the US Capitol in January of this year, Trump was permanently banned from Twitter and suspended from Facebook. Prior to the breach Trump made a speech making baseless claims of election fraud, a message which he reiterated across his social media. These falsehoods were the catalyst for the violent attack on the Capitol building and resulted in the removal of the ex-president’s online accounts due to beliefs that his online activity posed a risk to public safety.
Trump’s polarising removal from social media did not silence him completely; the ex-president’s messages were still shared through other live accounts. However, likes and shares on related posts after the ban saw a significant downturn demonstrating the irrefutable power social media companies have on the spread of false news should they choose to use it.
Through TRUTH Social, Trump intends to ‘stand up to the tyranny of big tech’. The platform has been described as ‘encourag[ing] an open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating against political ideology.’. The irony is not lost however when considering that users of the services are required to sign terms and conditions which prevent them from ‘disparag[ing], tarnish[ing], or otherwise harm[ing], in our opinion, us and/or the site’.
The CEO of RightForge, the company which will host Trump’s new platform, shared that it has been ‘laying the groundwork’ for TRUTH Social to have more than 75 million users. Whilst at first glance this seems large, Trump has expressed hope that TRUTH Social will be a rival to existing giants such as Facebook. Considering Facebook has around 2.89 billion users, the platform is more likely to be similar in scale to other ‘free speech’ platforms such as Gab.
TRUTH Social has incited a lot of buzz from Trump and his team. However, this is not his first venture back online following his removal from popular outlets in January. Earlier in the year, Trump launched a ‘communications platform’ named ‘From the Desk of Donald J Trump’ in an attempt to reach his supporters which was scrubbed less than a month after its launch due to low site traffic.
Only time will tell whether TRUTH Social is to be a more fruitful venture. The platform is set to launch to a limited number of invited users in November and then launch nationwide early next year.Science and Technology