Trump's Truth Social booted off Google Play store

Google says app does not have 'effective systems for moderating user-generated content'

A phone screen displays the Truth Social app. AFP
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Former US president Donald Trump's social media platform Truth Social has not yet been approved for distribution on Alphabet's Google Play Store due to insufficient content moderation, a Google representative said on Tuesday.

The delay marks a setback for the app, which launched in the Apple App Store on February 21.

Android phones comprise about 40 per cent of the US smartphone market. Without the Google and Apple stores, there is no easy way for most smartphone users to download Truth Social.

“On August 19, we notified Truth Social of several violations of standard policies in their current app submission and reiterated that having effective systems for moderating user-generated content is a condition of our terms of service for any app to go live on Google Play,” Google said in a statement.

Google said it has expressed concerns to Truth Social about breaches of its Play Store policies prohibiting content such as physical threats and incitement to violence.

Truth Social parent company Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) did not respond to a Reuters request for comment, but in a press release said that it has “continuously worked in good faith with Google to ensure that the Truth Social Android App complies with Google’s policies without compromising our promise to be a haven for free speech”.

It added: “Moreover, some of our competitors’ apps are allowed in the Google Play Store despite rampantly violating Google’s prohibition on sexual content and other policies, whereas Truth Social has zero tolerance for sexually explicit content.”

News of the Android delay was first reported by Axios.

Truth Social restored Mr Trump's presence on social media more than a year after he was banned from Twitter, Facebook and Alphabet's YouTube following the January 6, 2021, US Capitol riot. He was accused by the platforms of posting messages inciting violence.

TMTG has pledged to deliver an “engaging and censorship-free experience” on Truth Social, appealing to a base that feels its views on hot-button topics such as the outcome of the 2020 presidential election have been scrubbed from mainstream tech platforms.

Updated: August 30, 2022, 10:54 PM
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