Former President Donald Trump’s new social network, Truth Social, will launch on iOS on February 21st, according to a listing on the App Store. (That’s Presidents Day, if you didn’t know. Subtle.) The app is being made by the Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG), Trump’s new media company led by former US Rep. Devin Nunes.
Truth Social looks very much like a Twitter clone, based on screenshots in the App Store listing. The profile page shown in one screenshot looks almost exactly like Twitter’s, and posts appear to have icons for replies, retweets, faves, and sharing. (Truth Social describes each individual post as a “truth” in the app’s description. The retweet equivalent is apparently called a “re-truth.”)
The social network’s Twitter-like design is almost assuredly no accident. Twitter was Trump’s favorite megaphone for years, until he was permanently banned in Jaanuary 2021 shortly after the January 6th insurrection on the US Capitol. In May, he launched what was essentially a blog where he posted pithy Twitter-length comments, but it wasn’t nearly as popular as his former Twitter account and was shut down less than a month after it launched. Trump sued Twitter in October in an attempt to reinstate his account.
In October, the Trump mouthpiece Liz Harrington tweeted an announcement re: the platform.
Despite advertising itself as a platform that will “give a voice to all,” according to a press release, TRUTH Social’s terms of service state that users may not “disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the Site.”
In other words, any user who criticizes Trump or the site can be kicked off the platform. TRUTH Social did not immediately respond to TIME’s request for comment clarifying this clause.
But while portraying itself as a refuge for free speech and the “first major rival to ‘Big Tech,’” TRUTH Social’s terms of service make it clear that the platform not only intends to moderate content—just as Twitter and Facebook do—but reserves the right to remove users for any reason it deems necessary. The terms go on to say “In addition to terminating or suspending your account, we reserve the right to take appropriate legal action, including without limitation pursuing civil, criminal, and injunctive redress.”
The terms also prohibit users from using the site to advertise or offer to sell goods and services, engage in unauthorized framing of or linking to the site, trick, defraud or mislead the site and other users, and attempt to impersonate another user or person or use the username of another user.
Maybe most notably, the site’s list of prohibited activities includes the “excessive use of capital letters,” an idiosyncrasy that Trump became known for on Twitter and that no other major social network specifically bans. TRUTH Social’s terms also contain some sections written in all-caps.
Additionally, as reported by the Washington Post, TRUTH Social’s terms of service appear to indicate that the platform is hoping to lean on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields digital platforms from lawsuits over content posted by their users, in order to protect itself from legal liability.Time (from October, 2021)
Source: The Verge