Trump’s Truth Social is still facing financial and technical problems

0

Devin Nunes, The former California congressman, who gave up the seat he held for 19 years to run the company, had said the app would be “fully operational” by the end of March. But it’s been hampered by technical issues, including a waiting list that blocked hundreds of thousands of potential users online in those crucial first few weeks.

Trump has privately fumed about the app’s slow adoption and considered joining other platforms such as Gettr, one of its biggest competitors, according to people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Spurred on by the former president’s frustration, Nunes has worked to install his own people at the helm of the ailing company, leading to the resignation of its heads of technology, product development and legal affairs. according to people familiar with the turbulence. The departures were first reported by Reuters and Politico.

They said Nunes regularly traveled to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., to brief the former president and discuss the platform‘s troubles. Trump harbors hopes that the platform will eventually be lucrative, but he’s reluctant to post on it because “it’s not ready for prime time,” a close adviser said.

However, he has continued to pay attention to Twitter, which he has repeatedly criticized as irrelevant since the site banned him last year. He still checks tweets from politicians and members of the media from time to time, two of the people said.

Truth Social would become the flagship product of Trump Media & Technology Group, a startup that Trump’s advisors said would become a “media powerhouse” spanning online video, entertainment and news.

But his early troubles have hampered Trump’s ability to center himself in the online spotlight and raise money from his fans.

The app, which was downloaded around 200,000 times on launch day, has dropped to an average of 10,000 installs per day over the past month, according to estimates by analytics firm Sensor Tower. The app has been installed approximately 1.2 million times since its launch on February 21st.

Trump recently had dinner at Mar-a-Lago with billionaire Peter Thiel, a longtime investor in Facebook parent company Meta who plans to step down from the board this year to focus on other ventures. It’s unclear if they’ve spoken about Truth Social, but Thiel is a key supporter of Rumble, a video site popular with conservatives that now offers some back-end technical services to Trump’s app.

Representatives from Trump, Trump’s company, and Thiel did not respond to requests for comment.

Some right-wing influencers have not only resented Truth Social — they say its online censorship policies are just as problematic as those of the big tech sites they have criticized — but the whole prospect of a safe space for conservatives online -Conversations and arguing that the echo chamber may limit their ability to reach an audience.

But even without setting the internet on fire, Truth Social could give Trump some perks. The social network login page could allow the company to Telephone numbers and email addresses of a wide range of potential donors and voters.

And if the US Securities and Exchange Commission approves its merger with Digital World Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) used for “blank check” investing, Trump’s deal could have access to the more than $1 billion that investors have pledged since the company’s big ambitions were announced late last year.

But even that could be dubious. The merger is still under investigation by the SEC, which last week voted to make all SPAC offerings legally liable for the financial projections they make to investors. This policy change could open Companies making wildly optimistic forecasts for potentially costly investor lawsuits.

The Trump SPAC experienced a cash glut shortly after launch, but its share price has plummeted since the app’s debut, threatening the cash cushion the company might need to grow.

The stock slipped 10 percent on Monday after reports of executive exits and started Tuesday with another 10 percent drop. The SPAC also missed a deadline Thursday to file its annual report with the SEC, saying it would need up to 15 more days to complete the work.

Potential users of Truth Social have been complaining for weeks about a seemingly unmoving waiting list that’s longer than 1 million people. One user who signed up shortly after launching the app said that when they finally received an invite, the welcome email took them to a broken link.

Those who follow will be greeted by Trump’s official account, which has 846,000 followers — less than 1 percent of his lost Twitter followers — and a single post from almost two months ago that read, “Get ready! Your favorite President will see you soon!”

Trump’s former deputy chief of staff Daniel Scavino Jr. posted 263 “truths,” beginning with a post showing a red ocean wave and the message: “THERE’S MORE OF US – THAN THERE OF THEM!” LET’S GOOOOO!!” He had almost posted the same to Twitter.

Recent additions to the app include Trump’s sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, who received accounts last week. Eric has posted eight times, including asking, “If Trump were to create a hard cider (thinking about adding it to Trump Winery seasonally), what would it be called?” Trump Jr.’s first post was, “Who is ready for some truth!”; The second was a meme image of actress Jada Pinkett Smith with hot dogs in her mouth.

Trump’s wife Melania hasn’t reported back on the app for three weeks. There are no officially marked accounts for Trump’s daughter Ivanka or his former Vice President Mike Pence.

Some of the biggest meme-sharing accounts on Instagram have launched Truth Social accounts in hopes of capitalizing on new audiences. But engagement on the app remains surprisingly low: Aside from #Truth, all the top trending hashtags — including #Ukraine, #Inflation, and #GasPrices — are tagged on the app with fewer than 1,000 “speakers.”

The app faced the same problems that have plagued more mainstream social networks like Facebook and Twitter, including a flood of false information, manipulated photos, and propaganda from foreign governments. Some users, including longtime Trump booster Roger Stone, have also complained that the app censors their posts.

But Truth Social users are also struggling with more fundamental technical issues. The content of the app can only be viewed within the Apple iPhone app – there is no Android version to download – and links to individual “truths” do not open in a standard web browser. Last month, the app’s developers also reported that users are “currently experiencing slow truth dissemination” due to database storage issues. (The problem, they said, has since been fixed.)

The company’s recently resigned chief legal officer, South Florida attorney Lori Heyer-Bednar, said in an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February that the company was working around the clock to clear the app’s waitlist and others To solve problems. say: “We work as fast as we can.”

Giving the team at Truth Social a “reputation,” she said it was “absolutely amazing to get this product to market not only on time but early. Trump has done it again. Promises made, promises kept.” Two of these executives have since left the company. Heyer-Bednar did not respond to requests for comment.

Trump has struggled to garner online attention since he was blocked from all major social networks last year. His last major attempt at online communication, a blog, was canceled after 29 days.

He has continued to email news about his products, TV appearances, and golf games. However, Republican campaign groups have routinely used the Truth Social name in fundraising emails, stating that the platform is “already #1” and that people should subscribe to the social network “RIGHT NOW to apply that you are a Patriot.” .

Some Trump supporters have turned their attention to another product, a recently launched conservative news aggregation app, MxM News, which could serve as an alternative to the Drudge Report, which once praised Trump but has since become the focus of his ire. After Trump Jr. promoted it last month, some people online said they hoped it would be as successful as Truth Social.

Douglas MacMillan and Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.

Share.

Comments are closed.