Nearly two months since its launch, Donald Trump’s Truth Social is an abject failure.
Downloads on Apple’s app store have plummeted, and the site remains unavailable on android phones or web browsers. On Apple, it’s currently the 35th most downloaded among social media platforms, far, far behind other Right-Wing geared social apps like Gettr and Parler. “I created Truth Social… to stand up to the tyranny of big tech,” Trump said in announcing the company in October of 2021, but in the meantime Truth Social has utterly failed to challenge Twitter, Facebook or YouTube (all of which platforms banned Trump after the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol) for market share, and is now hemorrhaging executives.
That Truth Social is failing can be measured quantitatively. As Politico puts it in the above linked post: “The app has seen a 93 percent drop in sign ups since its launch, and installs declined by 800,000 users, according to data from Sensor Tower, a mobile analytics firm. Following news of the decline in usage, shares for Digital World Acquisition Corp., the special purpose acquisition company that is joining with Trump Media and Technology Group (the company backing Truth Social), declined by over 30 percent, according to Bloomberg.”
But the question that seems to be going unasked, as the media rushes to mock Trump for yet another business failure, is exactly why Truth Social is failing. And there may not be a quantitative answer to that, but we here at LP believe there’s a qualitative one, and it’s an answer we foresaw and wrote about back in early January: unadulterated Right-Wing social media just…stinks.
Yes. That’s it. It stinks. It’s the ugly stuff, the internet trolling that no one likes to be around. It’s acceptable in moderation, but as the foundation of a whole platform it collapses under its own weight. As we wrote back in January:
“What doesn’t seem to occur to the Trumpist founders of these Alt-Right platforms (Parler was funded by massive Trump doner Robert Mercer, while Gettr was begun by Trump aide Jason Miller) is that social media requires users and content beyond those who are attracted by the promise of being able to say and post anything they like, no matter how racist or just plain false. And those users, and that content, exist in a media universe that just isn’t interested in being constantly exposed to radical “Free Speech” (read, here, totally unmoderated opinions and misinformed content). In fact, the opposite appears to be true: as put by Adam Kovacevich in this Tweet, “People want Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to moderate their services to create a positive [user] experience – free of hate and disinformation.”
Thus, “what Trump and his cronies fail most thoroughly to understand when it comes to these new social media ventures is that the huge majority of Trump’s (admittedly) many followers, just wanted to follow Trump on social media. And that was enough politics for one day in their timelines. They maybe didn’t like to miss whatever the Former President was incensed about today, but after that it was back to baby pics and Cats in Costumes and Basketball highlights and everything else. So while it’s possible that Truth Social really will make good on its promise to deliver a social media platform that’s free of “censorship,” if it does, you can rest assured it will collapse under the weight of its own “free speech” paradox, just like Parler and Gettr did before it.”