Opinion: Trump’s Truth Social platform is an idle train wreck

The result is eminently unsurprising: any social network set up by a figure as polarizing as Trump is virtually doomed to failure.

Truth Social has now fallen to a dismal 35th place among social networks on the App Store, according to market research firm SensorTower. Some members of the company’s own management seem to realize that the effort is a failure.
According to Reuters, Truth Social’s senior technology and product development executives, Josh Adams and Billy Boozer, have left the company. (Adams did not respond to a request for comment, and Boozer declined to comment to Reuters on his departure.)

Some users who tried to register say they were not approved. And some content about the app’s big brands doesn’t appear to come from the brands themselves, according to CNN.

When CNN asked a spokesperson for the wallstreetbets community on Reddit if he polices his community’s content on Truth Social, the response was eye-opening.

The spokesperson said that Truth Social was “running the account as an RSS feed under our subreddit name” and that Truth Social had offered to allow the community to manage their account themselves, but the offer was ” declined” because “a fundamental principle of our community remains apolitical.”

The response reveals that people and organizations recognize that participating in this social network is a political act – an act that aligns directly with the former president and all he came to represent. Sixty-one percent of American adults who, according to a March 2022 Marquette Law School poll, have an unfavorable opinion of the former president, would likely not find it an appealing premise.

Truth Social and Trump Media and Technology Group, the app’s parent company, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN.

Trump, remember, is famous for using social media to tweet what congressional investigators believe was essentially an invitation for extremists to storm the Capitol last year. The former president has denied any responsibility for the January 6 uprising. Following the attack, he was definitely banned on Twitter and suspended for at least two years by Facebook.
Trump also refused to accept that he had lost the 2020 presidential election – and even tried to overturn the results, through failed litigation, pressure on election officials and pressure on his vice president.
And he has been widely recognized as a man who makes misogynistic remarks, calling everyone “bad”, from Vice President Kamala Harris to Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. It also has a history of attacks on minority groups – from Latino immigrants to Muslims. In his book, “Words on Fire: The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It,” Helio Fred Garcia found that after Trump verbally attacked groups, including Hispanics and Muslims, hate crimes at their against have increased.

In short, registering with Truth Social means legitimizing the former president and his behavior. It is no wonder that many companies and individuals do not claim to do so: they recognize that membership would cause damage to their reputation by mere association.

As a result, it is simply not possible for this social network to take off on a significant scale. After all, the value of a social network for a user largely depends on the number of other people who use it. If users cannot communicate with many other people and groups because they are not on the platform, membership becomes a less attractive proposition.

The idea that the value of something like a social network increases as its number of users increases is known as Metcalfe’s Law. Even if you don’t discuss politics on a social network with a relative or friend you disagree with, you might still enjoy seeing photos of their children growing up, or benefit from being able to contact to arrange a carpool to football practice or plan Thanksgiving dinner.

While it’s remarkable that a social network started by someone who presents himself as a successful businessman and formerly the leader of the free world seems to be plagued with so much mismanagement, it’s not the ultimate root of the problem here.

The insurmountable obstacle facing Truth Social is that Trump’s reputation has undermined his chances of long-term success.

Most Americans don’t want to associate themselves with anything he creates. And a social network where you can’t actually socialize or network with many people is doomed.

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