Truth Social: What Nobody Expects

Donald Trump has dominated social media like few. But not even he uses his own network, which started with great hype.

Hardly anyone has dominated social media like Donald Trump. On Twitter, he was followed by almost 89 million users on @realDonaldTrump. It had established itself as a brand much earlier. Long before his time as American President, Donald Trump was no longer a building contractor in his main job, but earned his money primarily with the TV show The Apprentice.

Royalties from the show and revenue from resulting advertising appearances totaled more than $427 million from 2007 to 2018, the New York Times reported, citing Trump's tax returns. In addition, there was income that hoteliers, for example, paid to be allowed to write Trump's name in gold letters on their properties.

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So the success of his own social media platform seemed almost guaranteed. He announced this after both Twitter and Facebook had banned him from their platforms last year. The tech companies accused him of being partly responsible for the attack on the Capitol in January 2021. Truth Social, as Trump's alternative is called, should, unlike the Silicon Valley providers, offer space for all opinions, according to the Description of the app. 

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Trump accuses Twitter and Facebook of suppressing the voices of his political camp. Truth Social, on the other hand, promotes "an open, free and honest global conversation without discriminating against certain political ideologies".

The start on February 21 was promising. The app, which was previously only available on the iPhone, immediately became number one in Apple's App Store. At the same time, the company achieved the IPO of the TMT Group(Trump Media & Technology), a valuation of $3.5 billion. That's impressive for a start-up. But in the four weeks since it was launched, interest in Trump's truth platform has fallen rapidly. Most recently, Truth Social was ranked 173 in the Apple App Store. 

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According to an evaluation by the digital market researcher SimilarWeb, daily user interactions are 300,000. On Twitter there are 217 million. Even if you compare Trump's start-up with Gab, which also sees itself as a conservative competitor to Twitter & Co, Truth Social doesn't do well. Gab reaches 650,000 users daily.

The failure may be due to technical difficulties that arose at the start. Interested parties who initially downloaded the app are still waiting to be able to use it. According to Truth Social, there are over a million users on the waiting list. The app has a good rating of four out of five stars. But there are also many disappointed voices, such as user Wildman115, who remarks that the introduction was as unsuccessful as the start of Obama's health care reform.

Trump himself is apparently one of the critics. The online magazine Daily Beast reports that someone heard Trump cursing the poor performance of his app. In any case, Trump himself has so far left it at a truth report. "Be ready, your dearest president will see you soon," he wrote at the start of February. The share price of the company that Truth Social is to take over and thus bring to the stock market has also fallen by 26 percent.

Business may not be going so smoothly for Trump at the moment. But politically his influence is still unbroken. Republican candidates hope to be recommended by him for the congressional elections in the fall. And Trump himself is far from out of the running. He already has over $110 million in donations. This would put him in a good starting position for the 2024 election campaign.

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