Big Tech Could Save Us From Truth Social
App store policies prohibit incitement to violence. Will Apple and Google stand up for the greater good?
The scariest thing to happen in October 2021 had nothing to do with Halloween. It happened weeks before the holiday, in the form of an announcement from Donald Trump. The former president let the world know that he would be launching his own social media network with the goal to, in his words, “stand up to the tyranny of big tech.” Truth Social would be debuting in early 2022.
It’s likely no one was surprised by this development. Ever since the former president was removed from Twitter for his part in inciting the January 6th Capitol Hill insurrection, he has been without his loudest megaphone. Social media was a tool that helped propel him to victory in 2016. Trump played up the martyr angle in a performance that closely mimicked that of Alex Jones after the far-right conspiracy theorist was banned from social media in 2018.
All the same, news of Truth Social’s launch sent shockwaves through the political world. More than anything else, it signaled something that America could not afford to ignore: Trump was back, and he was planning to run in 2024.
The headlines quickly turned humorous, though, when a hacker found a way to access the site. This set off a chain of events in which a reporter from the Daily Dot tweeted that he had set up an account on the platform under Trump’s name. From there, more trolls set up fake accounts and spammed the site with lewd pig photos. The exposure of structural flaws in the system sent Trump’s team rushing to shut it down. Months later, they seem to have taken these embarrassing lessons to heart — Truth Social’s launch has now been delayed several times. Most recently, it was announced that the app would be undergoing beta testing through March.
As can be expected from a Trump brainchild, much about the launch of Truth Social is painfully ironic. According to its parent company, the Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), the platform’s mission is to “create a rival to the liberal media consortium and fight back against the Big Tech companies of Silicon Valley, which have used their unilateral power to silence opposing voices in America.” It has…