(Reuters) – Donald Trump’s new social media venture, Truth Social, launched on the Apple App Store on Sunday evening, potentially marking the former president’s return to social media after being banned from several platforms last year.
The app was available shortly before midnight ET and was the best free app available on the App Store early Monday. Truth Social was automatically downloaded to Apple Inc devices owned by users who pre-ordered the app.
Many users have reported experiencing difficulty creating an account or being added to a waitlist with a message: “Due to high demand, we have placed you on our waitlist.”
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The app has been available for those invited to use it during its testing phase, Reuters previously reported.
Trump was banned from Twitter Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Facebook and YouTube following the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters, after being accused of posting messages inciting violence.
Led by former Republican U.S. Representative Devin Nunes, Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), the company behind Truth Social, joins a growing portfolio of tech companies that are positioning themselves as champions of free speech and hoping to attract users who feel their opinions are suppressed on more established platforms.
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So far, none of the new ventures, which include Twitter rivals Gettr and Parler and video site Rumble, have managed to match the popularity of their traditional counterparts.
“This week we’re going to start rolling out to the Apple App Store. It’s going to be awesome because we’re going to have so many more people going to be on the platform,” Nunes said in an appearance on Sunday. on Fox. News’ “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo”.
“Our goal is, I think we’re going to achieve it, I think by the end of March we’ll be fully operational at least in the United States,” he added.
Truth Social’s app store page detailing its version history showed that the app’s first public release, or version 1.0, was available a day ago, confirming a report from Reuters. The current version 1.0.1 includes “bug fixes,” according to the page.
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On Friday, Nunes was on the app urging users to follow more accounts, share photos and videos and join conversations, in an apparent attempt to increase activity, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Among Nunes’ posts, he welcomed a new user who appeared to be a Catholic priest and encouraged him to invite more priests to join, according to the person with knowledge of the matter.
Even though details of the app are beginning to leak out, TMTG remains mostly shrouded in secrecy and is viewed with skepticism by some in tech and media circles. It is unclear, for example, how the company is financing its current growth.
TMTG plans to list in New York through a merger with blank check company Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC) and is expected to receive $293 million in cash that DWAC is holding in trust, assuming no shareholder of DWAC is repurchasing its shares, TMTG said in an October 21 press release.
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Additionally, in December, TMTG raised $1 billion in committed funding from private investors; this money will also not be available until the DWAC agreement closes.
Digital World’s business has come under scrutiny from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, according to a regulatory filing, and the deal is likely months away. of the conclusion.