Truth Social, the fledgling social media platform created by former President Donald Trump that bills itself as “free from political discrimination”, launched on Monday. The app rose to the top of Apple’s most-downloaded list, but complaints quickly piled up, including a faulty registration process, long waiting lists, and sign-up issues.
NPR’s Bobby Allyn reports that Trump created the app after he was kicked off a number of social platforms last year for inciting the Capitol riot.
The app resembles Twitter in functionality and design, allowing users to create personalized profiles, follow others, and create posts, which the app calls “Truths” and “Re-Truths” instead of tweets. and retweets. However, it will differ from traditional social media in its content moderation plans.
Truth Social joins a growing field of so-called alternative social media sites that say they will protect free speech and allow users to post what they like, with less moderation than Twitter and others.
Small social sites with conservative leanings like Gettr and Parler are driving some conservatives away from social media giants like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as Big Tech continues to grapple with how to moderate misinformation and hate speech on their sites – with success mixed.
In a statement last October, Trump poked fun at how he had been silenced by what he called “a petty oligarchy of tech titans” and explained how Truth Social would differ from other sites. .
“Unlike Big Tech platforms, there will be no shadow banning, throttling, demonetization or manipulation of algorithms for political manipulation. We will not treat users like rats of laboratory for social experiments, nor will we label alternative opinions as ‘misinformation.’ We won’t silence our fellow citizens just because they might be wrong – or worse, because we think Americans ‘can’t handle the truth. “,” Trump said.
Trump’s site has a powerful advertising machine getting its message across, with Trump allies like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz publicly praising the app, Allyn reports. Greene has been suspended multiple times from Twitter, including earlier this year when the site permanently suspended her personal account for “repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation policy.” In 2020, Twitter restricted a tweet by Gaetz that the company said glorified violence.
Professor Jessie Daniels, who studies online extremism at Hunter College, says Truth Social can struggle to dominate political discourse the way Twitter does because Twitter’s roughly 300 million users are diverse, while Truth Social can primarily attract like-minded users.
One thing Truth Social may be planning to moderate on its site: bashing Trump.
“I’ll note here that I checked the app’s terms of service, and there’s one thing that’s prohibited on Truth Social: ‘disparage, tarnish, or harm’ contributors to the site,” Allyn reports. “I imagine that means Donald Trump.”
This story originally appeared in the morning edition live blog.