Donald Trump's new Truth Social app off to a rough start

Users struggle to sign up for an account as app rolls out

'The National' downloads Donald Trump's new social media app

The Truth social network logo is seen displayed in this picture illustration taken February 21, 2022.  REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration
Powered by automated translation

The early version of Donald Trump's new social media venture, Truth Social, got off to a veritably bad start this week after many would-be users were unable to sign up for an account.

Truth Social was automatically downloaded to Apple devices belonging to users who had pre-ordered the app. As of Monday morning it was the top free app on the App Store.

But many users reported difficulties signing up, with an email account verification link taking them to a "something went wrong" dead end on the app.

By Wednesday, the glitch appeared to have been fixed, but new users were told they had been placed on a waitlist along with hundreds of thousands of other people and their accounts were not immediately activated.

Led by former Republican US congressman Devin Nunes, Trump Media & Technology Group, the venture behind Truth Social, joins a growing portfolio of technology companies that are positioning themselves as champions of free speech and hope to draw users who feel their views are suppressed on more established platforms.

So far none of the newer companies, which include Twitter competitors Gettr and Parler and video site Rumble, have come close to matching the popularity of their mainstream counterparts.

"This week we will begin to roll out on the Apple App Store. That's going to be awesome, because we're going to get so many more people that are going to be on the platform," Mr Nunes told Fox News on Sunday.

"Our goal is, I think we're going to hit it, I think by the by the end of March we're going to be fully operational at least within the United States," he added.

Mr Trump has described Truth Social as an alternative to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, all of which banned him after the assault on the US Capitol by his supporters on January 6, 2021.

He has been accused of inciting his followers to use force to try to overturn the result of the 2020 election.

On Sunday, the App Store was allowing users to order Truth Social starting on Monday, the Presidents Day holiday in the US.

"It's actually very moving for me to see people that are on the platform that have had their voice cancelled," Mr Nunes said.

"We want them to tell us what they would like to have on the platform, which is the opposite of some Silicon Valley tech oligarch freak telling people what they want to think and deciding who can or cannot be on the platform."

Mr Trump and his wife Melania are also offering for sale 10,000 NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, illustrating key moments in his presidency.

NFTs are certified digital images that can be bought and sold.

The group reportedly has a $1.25 billion backing as it seeks a niche in a crowded social-media market place for conservatives, including the Gettr, Parler and Gab platforms.

Before being banned by Twitter, Mr Trump had about 89 million followers and used the platform constantly, for presidential statements and to attack rivals.

Mr Trump, 75, has strongly hinted but never definitively said whether he will seek the presidency again.

He is under the shadow of investigations and lawsuits, including over his tax filings and his efforts to cling to power after losing the 2020 election.

Updated: February 23, 2022, 3:33 PM