Former President Donald Trump‘s new social media platform “Truth Social” is reportedly launching on 21 February, and promises to be a place for free discussion – as defined by Mr Trump and his associates – and a viable alternative to popular social media sites that have banned him.
The site has already drawn mockery and criticism from other social media users, thanks in part to a screenshot Donald Trump Jr shared from the website featuring his father promoting its forthcoming release – on Twitter.
The image accompanying the younger Trump’s tweet included an image with the text “BREAKING: This was Donald Trump’s first post on ‘Truth Social.'” Below the text is reportedly a screenshot of the Truth Social app showing a post from Mr Trump that reads “Get Ready! Your favorite President will see you soon!”
The post is curious for numerous reasons. First, Mr Trump appears to be using the same photo he used on Twitter, as well as the same handle: @realDonaldTrump. Presumably Mr Trump chose that handle because he joined Twitter after someone else had already taken @DonaldTrump. Since he runs Truth Social and the app was practically built for his followers to read his tweets, it would stand to reason he could just use @DonaldTrump.
The explanation for that may be that the site hopes to have cross-platform connectivity with Twitter. Another right-wing social media site, Gettr, has faced criticism for showing user’s Twitter followers with their profile information, making it appear as though far more people are using the site than actually are registered. The site’s founder, former Trump spokesman Jason Miller, said this was because the site was aiming to enact cross-platform posting with Twitter.
Mr Trump’s post on Truth Social also looks identical to Twitter’s user interface. It includes comment, retweet, like, and share buttons identical to Twitter’s. The retweet button on Mr Trump’s post also appears to have been blanked out for some reason. Journalist Ken Klippenstein theorised that the “low engagement is whited out”.
Users on Twitter pointed out the similarities and the irony that Mr Trump has to promote his Twitter alternative on Twitter.
“Can I copy your homework?” One user wrote, sharing side-by-side images of Truth Social and Twitter. “Sure, just don’t make it obvious.”
Another user, YouTuber Beau of The Fifth Column, predicted the site would be a colossal failure.
“Trump’s first post on his Twitter clone site was written to people not on the site. This was written to be a screenshot post on Twitter. This will be such a glorious dumpster fire,” they wrote.
Based on the success of other conservative-focused social media sites, the YouTuber may be correct.
Gettr, Gab, and Parler have found the most success in the conservative-aimed social media space. Parler’s mobile app was downloaded about 11.3 million times before it was banned from the Google Play store. When it relaunched on Apple’s AppStore in May 2021, it was only downloaded 141,000 times.
According to app analystics firm SensorTower, Gettr has been downloaded 6.5 million times, and Gab has around 4 million active users.
Those numbers are tiny even when compared to the monthly active user bases of Facebook – 2.910 billion – and Twitter, which has 330 million monthly active users.
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell also launched what he described as a social media site – FrankSpeech – but that site ultimately just became a dumping ground for Mr Lindell’s content and advertisements for MyPillow products and Republican campaign endeavours.