By Faith Nyasuguta
Ex- US president Donald Trump has announced plans to launch his own social network, in the latest push to reclaim his internet dominance after a ban from Twitter and Facebook in the wake of the violent Capitol insurrection.
“TRUTH Social” will be owned by Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) and is expected to begin its beta launch for “invited guests” next month. It is already available for pre-order in Apple’s App Store, the group revealed in a statement.
“TMTG is also set to launch a subscription video on-demand service that will feature “non-woke” entertainment programming and will be led by Scott St. John, an executive producer from “Deal Or No Deal” and “America’s Got Talent,” the statement said.
“I created TRUTH Social and TMTG to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech,” Trump, who was banned from Twitter and Facebook for stoking the attack at the US Capitol on January 6, was quoted as saying in the statement.
“We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced. This is unacceptable,” he added.
The statement further revealed that the Trump Media & Technology Group will join hands with blank check company Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC) to form TMTG, a publicly listed company, the statement said.
“The transaction values Trump Media & Technology Group at an initial enterprise value of $875 Million, with a potential additional earnout of $825 Million in additional shares (at the valuation they are granted) for a cumulative valuation of up to $1.7 Billion depending on the performance of the stock price post-business combination,” it stated.
“Given the total addressable market and President Trump’s large following, we believe the TMTG opportunity has the potential to create significant shareholder value,” DWAC chief Patrick Orlando said in the statement.
FREE SPEECH WRANGLES
For years, Trump, who wielded Twitter in particular as a rhetorical weapon during his presidency, has battled tech giants whom he argues have wrongfully censored him.
The battle however escalated when Facebook, Twitter, Instagram among other dominant social media platforms banned him as punishment for sparking the mob that ransacked Congress.
Since then, Trump has been working on finding ways to reclaim his internet megaphone,among them launching several lawsuits against the tech giants.
In May, he launched a blog called “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” which was touted as a major new outlet — but he pulled it from the internet just a month later.
Former Trump aide Jason Miller launched a social network called Gettr earlier this year, but the Republican has not yet joined it.
Shortly after TRUTH Social was announced, Miller congratulated Trump on “re-entering the social media fray.”
“Now Facebook and Twitter will lose even more market share,” he said in a statement tweeted by Gettr.
On January 7, Facebook banned Trump indefinitely following his incendiary comments that preceded the Capitol insurrection, later shrinking he ban to two years.
Twitter quickly followed, permanently dismissing Trump’s account — which had over 88 million followers at the time — due to the “risk of further incitement of violence.”
Following that, Trump has begun holding public events, among them campaign-style rallies, as he seeks to remain the nation’s most influential Republican.
Currently, he has teased a potential 2024 presidential run but is yet to make an announcement on his political future.