Marred by a hack, missed deadlines, and slow development, Trump Media and Technology Group is struggling to get the former president back online.
It’s been a full year since Donald Trump launched a coup attempt and was subsequently booted from mainstream social networks. Twitter banned him permanently, while Facebook, in typically cowardly fashion, has left an opening for him to return in 2024. Almost immediately after getting hit with the ban hammer, Trump threatened to start his own social network. Thus far, he’s been demoted from president to blogger, posting random statements on his website that only get attention when he says something particularly outlandish.
But when he’s not posting into the abyss, Trump has been raising money to make his social media dreams a reality. He’s raised nearly $1 billion under the umbrella of Trump Media and Technology Group and has turned down offers from other, more established platforms in order to build his own. (That includes Parler, which reportedly offered him 40% of the company’s revenue if he would join, but Trump demanded that his critics be banned from the platform and Parler refused.)
So with nothing but time and (other people’s) money, how are things looking for Trump’s social media return? According to The Washington Post: Pretty bad!
As the Post reports, Trump’s entire plan hinges on a merger with another company, Digital World Acquisition (DWA), through a boring and complicated process called a Special Purpose Acquisition Company, better known as a SPAC. To make a long story short, DWA has raised the money for Trump Media, and the two will merge to form a publicly traded company. Except — not so fast, because the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the deal because DWA is shady as hell. It’s headquartered in a shared WeWork office in Miami, its initial SEC filings included no business plan, and it has not listed a single officer, employee, or actual operation. Basically, it’s a $1 billion blank slate. The company also has missed deadlines for important filings, which is sure to make all the wrong people angry.
Earlier this month, Trump’s social media venture did get a CEO: former congressman Devin Nunes. While he doesn’t have any actual experience as CEO of a tech company, Nunes does have some familiarity with social media: He once sued a person for starting a Twitter account called “Devin Nunes’ Cow,” and he attempted to sue other people who were critical of him on social media. So, naturally, he seems perfect to lead a Trump-centric social network, which will almost certainly ban dissent while also claiming to be a bastion of free speech.
As for Trump’s actual platform itself, well, things aren’t going any better there. Back in October, a beta version of his social network, Truth Social, was set to launch. It took only a few hours for hackers to discover the site and direct the public to the platform well before they were supposed to. People started claiming usernames, including @realdonaldjtrump and @mikepence, and posting all sorts of inappropriate content. Truth Social was shut down shortly after.
Odds are that Truth Social will never be anything more than a half-assed Twitter clone, for which more people sign up to screenshot Trump tweets to mock on Twitter than to actually use the platform. But users on Truth Social will surely believe it is the best social network out there. In fact, they’ll probably be required to say so to use it.