Former US president Donald Trump is launching a new media company with its own social media platform.
Trump has announced he is forming the Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), the crown jewel of which will be its Truth Social app, a rival to the Big Tech companies that have “shut him out”.
Trump was banned from major social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter after his role in stoking divisions which led to the 6 January storming of the US Capitol building by far-right supporters.
“We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favourite American President has been silenced,” he said in a statement. “This is unacceptable.”
Here is everything you need to know about it.
What is Truth Social?
Trump has long spoken of launching his own media platforms in the wake of his dismissals from more mainstream services like Twitter and Facebook.
Earlier in 2021, an effort to launch a blog on his existing website was abandoned after the page attracted a relatively low number of active users.
It is hoped Truth Social will fare better, though Trump may already have competition from his own supporters; according to a daily list compiled by a New York Times technology columnist, half of Facebook’s 10 top performing link posts were from conservative media, commentators or politicians on Wednesday 20 October.
Conservative and right-leaning voices already perform well on more ‘traditional’ social media platforms, so it’s unclear just how much of Trump’s fanbase will migrate to the new service once it launches.
How will it work?
Truth Social’s website describes the new platform as a “’Big Tent’ social media platform that encourages an open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating against political ideology.”
‘Big Tent’ refers to the metaphor that Truth Social seems to be running with to describe its approach to political discourse.
“Think of a giant outdoor event tent at your best friend’s wedding,” it says on its Apple Store listing. “Who’s there? The combination of multiple families from all over the United States, and the world.
“Uncle Jim from Atlanta is a proud libertarian. Aunt Kellie from Texas is a staunch conservative. Your cousin John from California is a die-hard liberal.
“And guess what? They’re all together to have an amazing time and share their viewpoints of the world. Although we don’t always agree with each other, we welcome these varied opinions and welcome the conversation.”
In terms of the day-to-day functions of the platform, it appears to work just as one would expect any social media outlet to operate.
Users will sign up, “join the conversation” and share their “unique” opinions by £posting a TRUTH, Re-TRUTH, photo, news story, or video link to communicate with your friends, customers, and the world.”
“Search for a voice that you find interesting and easily follow them right from the search list or view their profile first before deciding.”
When will it launch?
The app is expected to soft-launch next month with a nationwide rollout in the US early in 2022.
It is not yet known whether the app will be launched in international territories - including the UK - or if it will be exclusive to US citizens.
What else is TMTG doing?
Alongside the Truth Social app, TMTG has big ambitions.
The company says it is planning a video-on-demand service dubbed TMTG+ that will feature entertainment programming, news and podcasts.
One slide in a TMTG presentation on its website includes a graphic of TMTG’s potential competitors, which range from Facebook and Twitter to Netflix and Disney+ to CNN.
The same slide suggests that over the long term TMTG will also become a power in cloud computing and payments, and suggests it will go head-to-head with Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Stripe.
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