It always felt it would only be matter of time before Donald Trump found a way back into social media, but who knew it was going to be by creating his own platform? Welcome to TRUTH Social.
After Trump was banned from both Facebook and Twitter, many critics hoped that would be the end of the post-truth tyrant. Citing the January 6th attack on Capitol Hill as evidence enough of what this arguably harmful digital rhetoric could cause, justifying Trump’s exile from the digital sphere.
Trump did try his luck at an ill-fated blog, “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump”, that was shut down after only a month of activity. But I think that his detached abandonment of it suggested a larger plan at work, one that was sure to make a splash.
The creation of TRUTH Social has left many wondering how this will change the narrative around fake news and what it bodes for the future of global media.
Slated to arrive sometime in November, TRUTH Social is headed by the Trump Media & Technology Group, which recently merged with Digital World Acquisition Corporation. A merger that raised Trump’s shares 400%. It will consist of three brands: TMTG+, TMTG News and the social media platform TRUTH Social.
Amusingly, TMTG+ hopes to replace streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+, hence the name, but this journalist wonders what exactly will they be streaming to their platform? The Real White Supremacists of New Jersey? Or perhaps a reboot of The Mandalorian but with Eric Trump playing all of the roles (including Baby Yoda).
The mind races with possibilities.
In TMTG’s press release, they made clear their intentions and political leanings. “Silicon Valley, the mainstream media, and Big Tech have begun to forcibly silence voicesthat do not align with their woke ideology. They are not just censoring content – they are determining what can and cannot be said. TMTG intends to even the playing field by providing people with open media platforms where they can share and create content without fear of reputational ruin.”
The irony is that if one takes a closer look at TRUTH Social’s Terms of Service, it may seem that they’re the ones censoring content.
Shocking, I know.
According to the Terms of Service users may not “disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the Site.” It also reserves the right to remove users for any reason it deems necessary.
And if that wasn’t enough incentive to pre-order on the App Store, which apparently is a thing you can do, they can also take legal action after banning your account: “In addition to terminating or suspending your account, we reserve the right to take appropriate legal action, including without limitation pursuing civil, criminal, and injunctive redress.”
It really is the pinnacle of free speech in my opinion.
Yet not all reacted positively to this announcement. Mere hours after the announcement was made, anonymous hackers accessed a beta version of TRUTH Social and created fake accounts for Trump and his former aide Steve Bannon, posting images of defecating pigs. The beta site was promptly removed as a response, with the hackers saying that it was part of their “online war against hate”.
But really the only question that matters now is what will happen once TRUTH Social releases to the public?
Some think TRUTH Social will herald in the dominion of the Fake News era, where factual news sources are irrelevant, and populism dictates the political spectrum. Where journalism fails its duty to the public and truth loses any validity in swaying the masses.
But I think it will fail. I think TRUTH Social will follow the pattern established by all other Trump enterprises, whether its hotels, casinos, vodka, or steaks. TRUTH Social will fail to become a titan amongst social media companies not because of a lack of audience or a lack of financial backing, but because I believe Trump and the post-truth rhetoric he represents thrive off of discord and conflict.
Trump figured out, before he even ran for presidency, that he could rise to the top through celebrity status, and I believe he fostered that. He became a personality. One that said or did anything as long as it generated attention and digital traffic. I believe that it was never about power for him; it was about celebrity status. That’s why social media was a godsend for him, one that sent him straight to the oval office.
He was able to spew whatever he wanted online, and then just look away. He could retweet a white supremacist and just watch as MSNBC published endless articles and SEO content with his name plastered all over it. It appears to me that he thrives off of disagreement and outrage, he encourages it in his voters and supporters.
So, I deem that TRUTH Social is the worst thing that could happen to the Trump brand. There will be no discord or conflict because it will only be populated with the already converted. I think it will create a bubble of ideology, where members will not interact with established media channels because they already believe them to be false and misleading. And those with accounts on sites such as Facebook or Twitter, will pay no mind to TRUTH Social and whatever content is published on it.
Therefore, TRUTH Social will be a dry land for Trump, with no well to quench his thirst for discontent.