After getting booted out of the majority of social media platforms, former US president, Donald Trump is set to make a comeback as he expands his business portfolio to include social media.
Truth Social was announced last year by the former president and after a number of delays, the app is finally set to arrive on Apple’s App Store on Monday according to posts from an executive on a test version viewed by media publisher, Reuters.
Based on a number of posts made on Friday evening, a verified account for the network’s chief product officer, listed as Billy B. answered questions on the application from those invited to use it during its test phase.
One of the users requested when the application, which has been made available for beta testing, would be released to the public.
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“We’re currently set for release in the Apple App store for Monday, Feb. 21,” the executive responded.
After over a year of Trump’s absence from social media over Jan. 6th chaos at the US Capitol, the former president will now be getting his platform back and this time around, he owns it.
On Feb. 15 Trump’s eldest son Donald Jr. posted on Twitter a screenshot of his father’s verified @realDonaldTrump Truth Social account with one post, or “truth,” that he uploaded on Feb. 14: “Get Ready! Your favorite President will see you soon!”
Truth Social is a product of Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) and it’s being led by former Republican Rep. Devin Nunes. TMTG will join a number of tech companies that are positioning themselves as champions of free speech with the hope of drawing users that think they’re being suppressed by big tech media companies such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
As of now, the likes of Gettr, Rumble, or even Parler haven’t been able to reach the popularity of mainstream social media services.
“This week we will begin to roll out on the Apple App Store. That’s going to be awesome because we’re going to get so many more people that are going to 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’re going to be fully operational at least within the United States,” he added.
The Monday launch seems imminent and according to Reuters, a screenshot of the app showed it’s in its version 1.0; suggesting it has reached a level ready for public release.
As late as Wednesday, it was at version 0.9, according to two people with access to that version.
A representative for TMTG did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
With Apple’s App Store already listing the app, it shows that Feb. 21st is the exact release date, according to a source familiar with the business back in January even though Nunes has publicly stated that the app would launch by the end of March.
On Friday, Nunes was on the app urging 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.
The chief product officer’s other responses during Friday’s question-and-answer session suggested the startup’s features would resemble those of Twitter.
When asked if users would be able to edit their “truths”, the exec said, “not yet”. This might be a big drawback considering the fact that users of other social platforms have the ability to edit their posts after publishing them.
Another thing on the platform includes direct messages or DMs between users, according to the executive.
There could also be the ability for users to receive notifications when others post content. The executive also signaled that the ability to block other users would be an important component.
“There will always be block functionality in the app,” he wrote.
Truth Social will issue a policy on verified accounts “in the coming weeks,” the executive added.
Even as details of the app begin trickling out, TMTG remains mostly shrouded in secrecy and is regarded with skepticism by some in tech and media circles. It is unclear, for example, how the company is funding its current growth.
However, TMTG is planning on listing in New York through a merger with blank-check firm Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC) and it stands to receive US$293 million in cash that DWAC holds in a truth, assuming no DWAC shareholder redeems their shares.
In fact, TMTG raised about US$1 billion in committed financing from private investors but the money will not be available until the DWAC deal closes.
Digital World’s activities have come under scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, according to a regulatory filing, and the deal is likely months away from closing.
Anyway, it’s often great to have more competition in the social media business so as to allow for a diverse point of view and so forth. However, what is yet to be k known is how this platform will do when it finally becomes available to the public as well as how soon Android versions will be released – unless TMTG wants to keep the Truth to America alone and not explore the entire globe.