Trump Releases Truth Social, Users Run Into ErrorsThe jury is out on whether this will stand as a true rival to Twitter
Last week, former President Trump unveiled his new social media app: Truth Social, a free-speech alternative to Twitter. It immediately became the number one free app on Apple’s App Store and boasted half a million users within its first forty-eight hours. But hiccups soon followed, including error messages and long wait times for access to the platform.
The app went live on February 21, which was (perhaps not coincidentally) President’s Day. But those who signed up to join were automatically placed on a waitlist, numbering in the hundreds of thousands.
When a Post reporter tried to sign up for a Truth social account on Tuesday morning, he was told that he was number 387,392 on a waitlist.
“We love you, and you’re not just another number to us,” a message on the app read. “But your waitlist number is below.”Theo Wayt, “Donald Trump’s Truth Social launches an iPhone with lengthy waitlist” at the New York Post
Despite the challenges, Truth Social CEO Devin Nunes expects the app to be “fully operational” by the end of March. For now, however, when you visit the site, the homepage invites you to enter your first and last name and email address to “Join the Waiting List!”
Truth Social was developed by the Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) in response to the censorship efforts exerted by Big Tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, which booted Trump himself shortly after the Capitol Riot of January 6, 2021. Truth Social touts itself as the free-speech alternative to those companies.
“Truth Social is America’s ‘Big Tent’ social media platform that encourages an open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating against political ideology,” the homepage reads.
The site describes itself as “viewpoint-neutral and fully inclusive,” promising that, “In no instance will TRUTH Social determine what content will be removed or filtered, or whose account will be eliminated, on the basis of the point of view shared within the content at issue.”
But some are criticizing the new “free speech” platform for already censoring content and banning at least one user. Far-right political commentator Stew Peters complained that his post calling for the execution of government officials was slapped with a “sensitive” warning label. And the day after the app’s release, one Matt Ortega called himself the first “canceled” user after his account dedicated to making fun of Truth Social CEO Devin Nunes was banned for violating community guidelines before he had the chance to post anything.
Mashable called the launch “the moment none of us have been waiting for” and laid out a list of disadvantages and problems faced by the company, including a potential legal controversy over the logo.
Announcing the new social media platform last October, Trump explained that in order to be “totally independent of Big Tech’s infrastructure, it would have to be an extremely well-funded, multi-year undertaking.” And he realized that he might be the only one “with the megaphone, the resources, the experience, and the desire to make it all happen.” He wants the platform to attract “millions of users” of all political shapes and stripes.
Truth Social isn’t the first attempt at a social media alternative to Big Tech companies, but it is the first one with a former president’s name attached to it. It’s that fact, writes Scott Morefield, that puts Truth Social “head and shoulders” above the other alternatives like Parler, Gab, and GETTR. Morefield was given the opportunity to beta test the app, and writes:
All in all, I’ve enjoyed helping to beta test the app. It can be a bit glitchy right now, but they’re releasing updates often and the company seems to be genuinely trying to get the tech right, which is a huge deal given the huge advantage of the giant they’re trying to take a bite out of.Scott Morefield, “Will Truth Social Take A Bite Out Of Twitter? My Review” at Townhall
The first Truth Social post came from Trump himself: “Get ready! Your favorite president will see you soon.”
It remains to be seen whether Truth Social will be the success the former president and his fans hope it to be.