For months, former President Donald Trump has promoted Truth Social, the soon-to-be-released flagship app of his emerging social media company, as a platform where free speech can flourish without bound by Big Tech.
At least seven other social media companies have promised to do the same.
Gettr, a right-wing alternative to Twitter founded last year by a former Trump adviser, sees itself as a censorship-free haven. It’s the same with Parler – essentially another Twitter clone backed by Rebekah Mercer, a major donor to the Republican Party. MeWe and CloutHub are similar to Facebook, but for the purpose of promoting unrestrained speech.
Truth Social was supposed to go live on Presidents Day, but the launch date was recently pushed to March, although a limited beta was announced recently. Full implementation may be hindered by regulatory investigation into a proposed merger of its parent company, Trump Media & Technology Group, with a public transaction check company vacancies.
If and when it opens, Mr Trump’s app will be the latest – and most visible – in the tightly packed universe of social media companies that has grown in recent years, promising promises to build a parallel internet after Twitter, Facebook, Google and other mainstream platforms start cracking down on hate speech.
Millions of users have signed up for this so-called alternative technology or alternative platform, lured by the promise of a space unfettered by what they see as censorship by conservative voices. However, the business situation of these companies proved to be shaky.
“There’s an audience and a market, but it’s not that big,” said Shannon McGregor, a professor of journalism and communications at the University of North Carolina who has studied social media platforms. “Most people don’t want a version of the Internet where things go.”
Most alternative tech startups are after the same user group, many of whom may spend only a fraction of their time on social media for partisan political purposes. In addition, right-wing pundits who attract a wide audience already have large, solid online fan bases on mainstream social media, making it impossible for them to fully transition to a new platform. unless they are removed.
And since most traditional investors in Silicon Valley aren’t rushing to fund alternative technology, the growth of these companies depends on a small group of financial backers investing in ventures. partisan purposes.
Rumble, which was founded in 2013 to compete with YouTube and is the oldest of these alternative social media companies, recently reported that its revenue has nearly tripled in the year. via. However, for the first nine months of 2021, its revenue is less than $7 million. By comparison, YouTube pulled in nearly $9 billion in ad revenue in its most recent quarter.
Alternative platforms claim to have tens of millions of registered users. The user numbers of most of these companies – or how they identify users – are difficult to verify because they are often not independently tracked. However, experts say they are unlikely to pose a serious competitive challenge to mainstream social media platforms, which have billions of users. For example, there are more than 1.9 billion daily active Facebook users and 211 million daily active users on Twitter, people see the ad.
Weiai Xu, an assistant professor of communications at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, says many people who crave a social network for their political ends are often unwilling to give up Twitter or Facebook. And so major platforms remain an important vehicle for “partisan users” to convey their messages, Xu said.
Gettr, Parler and Rumble have relied on Twitter to announce the signing of a new right-wing figure or influencer. Parler, for example, used twitter arrive Post a link to an announcement that Melania Trump, the former first lady, is turning her platform into a “social media home.”
Mark Weinstein, founder of MeWe, a platform with 20 million registered users has positioned himself as an option for Facebook.
“The problem with Truth Social, Gettr and Parler is that these are Twitter competitors and they are echo chambers for a narrow political sphere,” Mr. Weinstein said. “Echo chambers don’t have widespread appeal.”
Instead of going after users because of their political beliefs, MeWe is aimed at people who want to protect the privacy of their online posts, Mr. Weinstein said. MeWe’s basic service is free but it charges certain subscription services. His startup raised $24 million from 100 investors.
But since political causes drive engagement on alternative social medias most, most other platforms are quick to seize such opportunities. This month, CloutHub, has only four million registered users, speak Its platform can be used to raise money for protest against truckers of Ottawa.
Mr. Trump does not far left behind. “Facebook and Big Tech are looking to destroy the Freedom Trucks,” he said in a statement. (Meta, the parent company of Facebook, said removed some groups associated with the convoy for breaking their rules.)
Trump Media, Mr. Trump added, will allow truckers to “communicate freely on Truth Social as we launch – coming soon!”
Of all the alternative tech sites, Mr Trump’s venture may have the best chance of succeeding if it goes live, not only because of the former president’s star power but also because of its finances. In September, Trump Media agreed to merge with Digital World Acquisition, a special-purpose or blank check acquisition company that raised $300 million. Two entities raised $1 billion from 36 investors in one individually released.
But none of those funds can be mined until regulators conclude their investigation into whether Digital World violated securities regulations in its planned merger with Trump Media or not. Meanwhile, Trump Media, now valued at more than $10 billion based on Digital World’s share price, is trying to hire people to build its platform.
According to documents obtained by The Times, it gave employers access to former Parler employees. In the screening questions, employers seek to learn more about “social media considered alternatives to Facebook/Twitter, such as Parler and Gab” and ask candidates if they are think Truth Social will face the challenge of monetizing or moderating content on its platform.
Devin Nunes, a former California Republican congressman Trump chose to be his company chief executive officer, declined a request for an interview.
Rumble, a Toronto-based YouTube rival, has raised a relatively large amount of money from investors, including Peter Thiel, the billionaire venture capitalist and Trump supporterand Mr. Thiel’s venture capital fund, JD Vance, who is running for a Senate seat from Ohio.
Rumble is also planning to list shares through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company. SPACs are shell companies created solely for the purpose of merging with an operating organization. The deal arranged by the Wall Street firm’s Cantor Fitzgerald will give Rumble $400 million in cash and a $2.1 billion valuation.
Webpage said in January that it has 39 million monthly active users, up from two million two years ago. It has achieved various content deals, including one to provide video and streaming services for Truth Social. Representatives for Rumble did not respond to a request for comment.
At least one other social media startup is hoping to win the former president’s favorite among conservatives to build its business. Gettr, which began July 4 and is led by Jason Miller, a former Trump adviser, had hoped to land Mr. Trump before he decided to open his own venture. In January, Gettr advertised it as a “place to follow” Mr. Trump’s recent rallies.
In a written statement, Mr. Miller said the former president is welcome to “join GETTR whenever he is available.” The site claims to have five million users and tens of millions of dollars in cash. In a recent interview, Mr. Miller denied an earlier claim that Gettr had raised $75 million.
Parler, a platform popular with Trump supporters, is still reeling from his role following violent protests on the US Capitol in January 2021 by thousands of angry fans of the former president. . Parler’s app downloads plummeted 88% last year after Apple and Google removed it from their app stores and Amazon cut web services after the riots, according to SensorTower, a digital analytics company.
Parler, which said in January that it raised $20 million from investors, has since returned to the Apple Store. However, internal instability continued. Last year, Parler fired John Matze, one of its founders, from his position of chief executive officer. Mr Matze said he was fired after an argument with Ms Mercer – the daughter of a wealthy hedge fund executive who is Parler’s main supporter – over how to deal with extremist content posted. on the platform.
Christina Cravens, spokeswoman for Parler, says the company has always “prohibited violent and inflammatory content” and has invested in “best practices for moderating content”.
Content moderation will also be a challenge for Truth Social, whose main star Mr. Trump has been unable to post messages since early 2021, when Twitter and Facebook kicked off their platforms for inciting violence tied to the results of the 2020 presidential election.
With Mr. Trump as the main poster, Mr. Matze said, it is unclear if Truth Social will grow subscribers who previously only signed up to read the former president’s message.
“Trump is building a community that will fight for something or whatever he stands for that day,” he said. “This is not social media for friends and family to share pictures.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/18/business/trumps-truth-social.html Trump’s Social Truth Is Ready To Enter A Crowded Field