Donald Trump’s Truth Social Dilemma
Donald Trump’s Truth Social Dilemma
Donald Trump’s social media network Truth Social ultimately went online on February 20, 2022, being available for download on the Apple app store just before midnight Eastern Time.
The Trump Media & Technology Group’s (TMTG) conservative “free speech” applet the former president rejoin social media after being barred from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter following the January 6 attack.
The fact that Trump didn’t even start publishing updates on Truth Social until two months after it began revealed the app’s early teething troubles.
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That has all changed, with Trump now frequently tweeting to his 4.9 million followers on Truth Social in much the same way he did on Twitter: venting complaints, assaulting adversaries, promoting favorable news pieces about him, and falsely alleging the 2020 election was rigged.
Now, only one year after the debut of Truth Social, there are allegations that Trump may be willing to abandon his own platform and completely return to conventional social media to promote what opponents say is a flailing 2024 presidential campaign.
Trump has been reinstated but has not been re-engaged.
In January 2023, Meta, the corporation that controls Facebook and Instagram, said that Trump’s accounts will be reopened after being suspended for two years following the January 6 attack.
Both accounts are presently operational, although there have been no new postings since January 2021.
Trump’s Twitter account was revived last November following Elon Musk’s $44 billion purchase. Yet, he has opted to remain on Truth Social rather than return to his old favorite site.
While Trump has repeatedly denied any return to Twitter, Joshua Tucker, director of NYU’s Center for Social Media and Politics, believes the former president may have to if he wants to control the narrative of the 2024 primary and presidential cycles, which he does not with Truth Social despite his frequent posts.
Tucker told Newsweek that Trump’s big accomplishment on Twitter was his ability to utilize it to generate mainstream media coverage.
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“You could always get some crazy comment from Trump by browsing through his recent Twitter account, and in many cases, his tweets would really fuel new cycles.
“There hasn’t been as much proof of his driving new bikes as he did while he was president,” Tucker noted. “And the issue is, is this because he is no longer president? He’s not new anymore, he’s been in the public light for seven, eight years now, he’s not as thrilling, or is it because he’s been off of Twitter?”
Facebook Fundraising’s Allure
In contrast to his attitude to Twitter, Trump deliberately attempted to reclaim his Facebook account, understanding that it is a critical fundraising tool for any presidential campaign in which he has to demonstrate that he is still the GOP’s top figure.
“Trump’s capacity to finance will be a critical indicator of his viability in the Republican primary,” Tucker told Newsweek.
“From that standpoint, going back on Facebook is critical to re-creating the magic of the earlier campaigns, where he brought in lots and tons of money from tiny donations, which might play a significant part in this sort of signaling development.”
There’s also the matter of how Trump will use Facebook, Twitter, and Truth Social all at once.
Trump now has an exclusivity agreement with Truth Social, which means he must share all of his social media communications on Truth Social first and “may not make the identical post on another social media site for 6 hours,” according to SEC filings.
But, it has been rumored that Trump is considering not re-signing the contract, which ends in June, which would allow him to publish whatever he wants on Facebook—or, better yet, Twitter—first, therefore rendering Truth Social’s unique selling feature obsolete.
“If he goes full-fledged on Twitter and Facebook, it really undercuts one of Truth Social’s key selling points,” Tucker said.
“Truth Social is the social media channel through which you may have access to Donald Trump. Thus, if he returns to Twitter and Facebook, it’s likely that Truth Social will suffer and he’ll lose money.”
In one scenario, Trump uses Facebook solely for fundraising purposes, taking care not to breach the “new guardrails” he must follow to avoid being banned off the network again, while freely posting anything he wants on Truth Social.
There is also the possibility that Musk may let Trump to write anything he wants on Twitter, knowing the possible repercussions if the former president is taken off the network, despite Musk’s repeated promises to make Twitter a “digital town square” where material is not as carefully monitored.