With just a few weeks until its scheduled release, Donald Trump’s new media firm is aiming to strike a fine balance with its app by allowing Trump’s followers to express themselves while adhering to Apple and Google’s app store guidelines.
A year after the former US President was barred from using Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, Truth Social will started. A key test will be whether Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) and other online businesses that promote themselves as defenders of free speech can compete with Silicon Valley censors who conservatives accuse of stifling free expression.
To cater to a demographic that feels its opinions on contentious matters like vaccinations and the outcome of the 2020 presidential election have been erased from mainstream internet platforms, TMTG has pledged to offer an “engaging and censorship-free experience” on its Truth Social app.
Truth Social Will Face Challenging Times
To avoid what happened to popular conservative app Parler following the violence in the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, Trump’s digital team must put safeguards in place to keep Truth Social from being removed from both Apple Inc.’s and Alphabet Inc.’s Google’s app stores. Without these stores, the app cannot be downloaded by the majority of smartphone users.
Two persons with knowledge of the matter claim that TMTG Chief Executive Devin Nunes, a former Republican congressman, is worried about the possibility of “de-platforming” while his team is working on the app. Nunes wants “nation-state level” cyber talent because he knows the app will be a major target for hackers right away.
By the end of March, the company wants to launch its Truth Social app, according to Nunes. The representative of TMTG did not respond to an inquiry.
Truth Social Drawing Skepticism from Industry Kin
The secretive TMTG is viewed with skepticism by some in the business and media sectors. Two conservative media executives see the venture’s apparent inability to launch a test program in November, as promised, and the absence of high-profile media, tech, or political leaders – other than Nunes – as evidence that it may be more noise than substance.
One source in the conservative media claimed, “No one has contacted me or my team. Trump “has always felt like a little bit of an island to himself.”
Because Google and Apple operate the most well-known app stores for smartphones, the TMTG’s goal of taking on Big Tech is impeded by its reliance on these companies. TMTG is working with Hive, a San Francisco-based AI-based content moderation business, to identify violent content, hate speech, sexually explicit content, and bullying. A source familiar with the company claims that the agreement is being driven by TMTG’s wish to keep the Truth Social app available through the Apple App and Google Play stores.
Truth Social will require thorough content moderation using both automatic detection and in-person teams, as well as a method for users to report questionable posts, according to David Thiel, Stanford University’s big data architect and chief technology officer.