Donald Trump’s Truth Social is the saddest site on the internet

But things aren’t going so well for the platform. This week it emerged that the blank-cheque company, or SPAC, that was meant to merge with and give a $US1.3 billion ($1.9 billion) cash injection to the Trump Media & Technology Group, which runs Truth Social, has failed to get the financial backing for an extension to complete the deal.

Meanwhile, the platform has been barred from Google Play because of its failure to moderate violent content, and the US Patent and Trademark Office has denied Trump his application for a trademarking of “Truth Social”.

It has also been reported that the platform owes $1.6 million to RightForge, the company that hosts the website. Truth Social declined to confirm or deny this report, instead telling me “Truth Social is on strong financial footing” and that “any assertion to the contrary is knowingly false bar-talk maliciously designed to harm Truth Social investors”.

An unpleasant experience

Still, in between “Truths” about the “Green New Deal Fake Infrastructure Bill” and “the latest Witch Hunt against me”, Trump took to the platform this week to try to encourage people to buy ads on it. These feel like sad, desperate times – for Trump and the platform.

Spending time on the site is an unpleasant experience. It seems to be a total rip-off of Twitter, but with a much lower budget and without some basic functionalities. When you click on a “Truth”, for instance, you are unable to see whether you have already liked or “ReTruthed” it yourself, or whether anyone has “Quote-Truthed” it. There is also no direct-messaging capability on the app.

And while it sells itself as a “Big Tent” platform that is all about allowing for different viewpoints, there seems to be only one heard on it. The same hashtags trend frequently – #DefundTheFBI, #January6th, #IAMMAGA. It might be 2022, just two months before midterm elections that Republicans look likely to win, but you wouldn’t know it over on Truth Social.

Trump follows only three accounts, two of which are official Truth Social ones and the other that belongs to John Daly – a golfer and friend of the former president whose profile picture shows him sandwiched between two Hooters waitresses several decades his junior.

Trump has just over 4 million followers on the platform. That compares to the almost 90 million he had on Twitter. His most popular “Truths” produce tens of thousands of engagements, a fraction of the 4.7 million likes and shares he got for his 2020 “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” tweet.

Watching Trump’s activity last Tuesday, on the day pictures from the FBI’s raid of his Mar-a-Lago home were made public, felt like watching someone having a very public meltdown, with him plaintively asking at one point: “Why are people so mean?”

During a radio interview on Sunday, Trump’s former communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, said “something’s eating” Trump. I rather get that impression too. The Trump you see on Truth Social seems less like a formidable former president energetically planning his comeback, and more like a rather pathetic, unhappy 76-year-old man, shouting into the wind.

If I might borrow again from Orwell: if you want a picture of a Trumpian future, imagine being stuck on Truth Social, seeing Trump’s Truths and ReTruths popping up on your Truth Feed – forever.

Financial Times

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