Donald Trump’s new social media venture, Truth Social, launched Sunday night on Apple’s App Store, potentially marking the former president’s return to social media after he was banned from multiple platforms last year.
The app was available just before midnight ET and was the best free app available on the App Store on Monday. Truth Social was automatically downloaded to Apple devices owned by users who pre-purchased the app.
Many users have reported problems registering for an account or have been added to a waitlist with a message: “Due to high demand, we have placed you on our waitlist.”
The app is available to people invited to use it during its testing phase, Reuters previously reported.
Trump was banned from Alphabet’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube following the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters after he was accused of posting messages inciting violence.
Led by former US Republican Representative Devin Nunes, Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), the venture behind Truth Social, joins a growing portfolio of technology companies that are positioning themselves as champions of free speech and hope to attract users who feel their opinions are suppressed on more established platforms.
So far, none of the newer companies, which include Twitter competitors Gettr and Parler and video site Rumble, have come close to achieving the popularity of their mainstream counterparts.
“This week we will start releasing on the Apple App Store. This is going to be amazing, because we’re going to have a lot more people that will be on the platform,” Nunes said in a Sunday appearance on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo.”
“Our goal is, I think we’re going to hit it, I think by the end of March we’ll be fully operational, at least in the United States,” he added.
Truth Social’s app store page detailing its version history showed that the first public version of the app, or version 1.0, was available a day ago, confirming a Reuters report. The current version 1.0.1 includes “bug fixes”, according to the page.
On Friday, Nunes was on the app asking users to follow more accounts, share photos and videos and participate in conversations, in an apparent attempt to drum up activity, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Among Nunes’ posts, he welcomed a new user who appeared to be a Catholic priest and encouraged him to invite more priests to join, according to the person with knowledge of the matter.
Even as app details start to leak, TMTG remains largely shrouded in secrecy and is viewed with skepticism by some in tech and media circles. It is unclear, for example, how the company is funding its current growth.
TMTG is planning to list in New York through a merger with blank check company Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC) and is expected to receive $293 million (approximately Rs. 2,190 crore) in cash that DWAC holds in a trust. , assuming no DWAC shareholders redeem their shares, TMTG said in an Oct. 21 press release.
Furthermore, in December, TMTG raised US$1 billion (approximately Rs. 7,475 crore) of committed funding from private investors; that money will also not be available until the DWAC deal is closed.
Digital World’s activities are under scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, according to a regulatory filing, and the deal is likely months away from closing.
© Thomson Reuters 2022