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It’s 2022, and remaining Trump supporters still don’t get the difference between censorship and other people expressing revulsion when they hear horrible opinions. So, apparently there remains room in the social media landscape for a platform that tells people who are not being censored that they won’t be censored.

That’s the hope for backers of Donald Trump’s new social media app, Truth Social, anyway. Truth Social aspires to become Twitter for Trump acolytes. Users are referred to as “Truthsayers” by the app. Instead of tweets and retweets, there are “truths” and “retruths.”

Yes, as we all know, any platform that barrages someone with endless, gaudy, over-the-top branding about “truth” cannot possibly host any lies whatsoever. Think of the most-honest people you know — they’re all constantly, loudly trying to convince you that they’re telling the truth, right?

Truth Social got off to a rocky start. On February 20, Truth Social launched in Apple’s App Store. Those attempting to sign up were plagued with error messages, waitlisted, and ultimately subjected to limited functionality. The app will probably get somewhat better (although it’s difficult to believe that Truth Social is attracting top coders and software engineers, and with dairy-farmer-turned-pugnacious-congressional-obstructionist Devin Nunes at the helm, I wouldn’t hold my breath).

Despite the early hiccoughs, it seems there are at least several hundred thousand people who want Truth Social and are willing to endure some hassle to get it. Early on February 22, the malfunctioning Truth Social app appeared to have the top spot among free apps in the Apple App Store (with HBO Max and something called “Talking Ben the Dog” coming in second and third).

Investors didn’t seem particularly troubled by Truth Social’s less-than-stellar rollout either. Digital World Acquisition Corp. is a special purpose acquisition company that intends to merge with the Trump Media and Technology Group to take the latter company public. This maneuver allows for the creation of a publicly traded company while circumventing the complicated process of staging an initial public offering. It also avoids the intense regulatory scrutiny which accompanies an initial public offering. At any rate, Digital World Acquisition Corp. stock reached a price of $99 per share early in the day on February 22, before cooling somewhat to a still-impressive $91 per share. The $99 share price represented a 17% increase from the share price at the close of trading the previous week, even as it was nowhere near the high of $175 a share reached last October when plans for the merger and for Trump’s new social media app were announced.

Of course, no one knows how sustainable Truth Social is ultimately going to be. There are obviously a fair number of people willing to follow Trump to his own social media app after he was kicked off the mainstream social media platforms for trying to overthrow American democracy. Beyond that, many questions remain.

Now that he is out of the public eye, Trump’s appeal is waning even within his base, and part of his schtick that used to work was trolling overreacting liberals who will no doubt fail to appear directly on Truth Social. On the plus side for advertising revenue though, I’d wager that a group of hardcore Trump supporters is a target-rich environment for sales pitches.

Perhaps the unintended consequences of Truth Social will be more interesting than its overt aims. Existing conservative social media sites like Gettr and Parler, while relatively small, have already succeeded in pulling some rightwing internet users away from Big Tech staples like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.

Losing users is not a goal for any social media company. Even so, I can’t help but think that a Facebook or a Twitter devoid of the most dedicated Trump loyalists would be a much more pleasant environment for everyone else. No user wants going on social media to feel like work, and that’s what it feels like when you are compelled to explain to a friend or relative why attacking the nation’s Capitol to overturn an election is a bad thing. It’s not hard to imagine that Trump-loving social media users lost to Truth Social could be more than made up for by increased engagement on the mainstream platforms by those who remain.

We shall see. In the meantime, tallyho unironic Truthsayers, and enjoy the new app.

Jonathan Wolf is a civil litigator and author of Your Debt-Free JD (affiliate link). He has taught legal writing, written for a wide variety of publications, and made it both his business and his pleasure to be financially and scientifically literate. Any views he expresses are probably pure gold, but are nonetheless solely his own and should not be attributed to any organization with which he is affiliated. He wouldn’t want to share the credit anyway. He can be reached at jon_wolf@hotmail.com.

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