Casey Newton wrote a lengthy piece about Donald Trump’s new social media app, Truth Social. It’s really good.
What else is there to say about Truth Social? It’s based on technology from Mastodon, the open-source social network. Its parent company, Trump Technology & Media Group, hopes to go public this year through a lucrative SPAC. Its terms of service document, like its user interface, appear to be largely copied and pasted from elsewhere. It prohibits “false, inaccurate, or misleading content,” a policy whose successful enforcement would represent a first in the history of the internet.
I’m sure the spin is they are a network for everyone, but no one believes this nonsense. It’s a social network made by Trump people for Trump people. Guess what? That is not a lot of people. Also, no liberal would ever sign up for Truth Social (even if they could, but they can’t right now because the app sucks). It is a waste of their time. Just like the other “conservative” social media apps.
That leads to these apps’ second problem: their market is smaller than they think it is. To hear Farmer and Miller tell it, the world is desperate for a less restrictive approach to content moderation. But TikTok, the most popular social network around, is also arguably the most restrictive — certainly in terms of which posts are allowed to go viral. The world is voting with its eyeballs, and the majority of people clearly prefer apps with robust moderation.
The free market wants moderation because most people don’t want to have to deal with the trash. That’s why people get banned and de-platformed and the like. I’m not a fan of engagement with Trump people. I don’t find it fun, amusing, or entertaining. I find it sad. I would jump on a social media site filled with smart, intelligent, progressive liberals. Of course, that would fail just as quickly as one designed for Trumpists.
Just like Truth Social.