Trump announces new social media platform called 'Truth Social'

Hackers commandeer site within hours of former president unveiling it

The Twitter account of former US president Donald Trump, which was banned following the Capitol riot on January 6. AFP
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Former US president Donald Trump said on Wednesday he is launching a new social app called “Truth Social” after he was kicked off multiple networks including Twitter and Facebook.

The new enterprise will be in operation by the first quarter of 2022, a press release from the Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG) said. If all goes to plan, it will be up and running well before the midterm elections in November next year.

Within hours of Mr Trump's announcement, however, US media reported that hackers had hijacked the nascent site, briefly commandeering the “donaldjtrump” and “mikepence” handles.

It is Mr Trump's most concrete step in returning to social media following his permanent ban from Twitter and Snapchat and an indefinite lockout of his accounts on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitch.

“I created Truth Social and TMTG to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech,” Mr Trump said in a press release.

“We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favourite American president has been silenced. This is unacceptable.”

Mr Trump was banned or suspended from the main social media platforms following the January 6 insurrection after he encouraged a mob that stormed the Capitol building, at one point telling the “great patriots” to “go home with love".

The press release said TMTG would be publicly traded through a merger with another firm called Digital World Acquisition Corp.

The company said it has also proposed a subscription video on-demand service with “non-woke” programming, news, podcasts and more, the release said.

Digital World Acquisition shares jumped 49 per cent in US premarket trading on Thursday, having doubled earlier.

The Truth Social app is already listed for pre-order on the Apple Store and invited guests will be allowed to join as early as November, the press release said. A national roll-out will take place in 2022.

The app launch does not come as a surprise, as Mr Trump has long sought a return to the internet, including through suing the major platforms.

His frequent and incendiary social posts caught the attention of global media and drove news cycle after news cycle.

In May, he launched a blog called “From the Desk of Donald J Trump”, which was touted as a major new outlet, but he cancelled it a month later.

Former Trump aide Jason Miller launched a social network called Gettr this year, but the former president has not yet joined it.

Mr Trump is widely believed to be planning a run for president again in 2024.

Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: April 02, 2022, 6:11 PM