Trump’s Truth Social App Barred From Google Play Over Content Moderation Failure
Donald Trump’s alternative social media platform, Truth Social, has still not been approved by Google to appear in its Play store for Android users to download, Google confirmed to HuffPost on Tuesday.
Google said in a statement that the problem with the former president’s app lies in its inability to properly moderate violent content posted by users. It also said that it notified Trump Media & Technology Group of the issue in mid-August, despite CEO Devin Nunes saying last week, “I don’t know what’s taking so long.”
Trump launched the Twitter lookalike in May after being kicked off the actual Twitter platform in the aftermath of the deadly Capitol attack in January 2021. Instead of “tweeting,” users post “truths,” and instead of “retweeting,” they “re-truth.”
Users appear to be “truthing” and “re-truthing” physical threats and calls for violence against Google’s policy.
A Truth Social app is available for iPhone users, but others have had to rely on their web browser to access the site. Google announced last year that it had surpassed 3 billion active Android users, meaning that not having Truth Social available on the Play store could have a significant negative impact on the company’s bottom line. There are, however, other ways in which Trump could make the app available to Android users, such as by having them download it off the Truth Social website.
“On Aug. 19,” a Google spokesperson said, “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.” Axios was first to report on the company’s statement.
The spokesperson continued: “Last week Truth Social wrote back acknowledging our feedback and saying that they are working on addressing these issues.”
So far, the app is only available to preorder on Google Play store.
Nunes told the right-wing network Real America’s Voice that although Truth Social was created to circumvent Big Tech, it is still somewhat beholden to tech giants Apple and Google, because they control which apps are available from their respective app stores.
But availability isn’t the only problem facing Trump’s platform.
Citing documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, The Washington Post reported over the weekend that Truth Social’s business plan is on thin ice, with no guaranteed revenue stream and mediocre traffic. The site’s financial woes could worsen further if Trump “becomes less popular or there are further controversies that damage his credibility,” one filing states.
The former president is currently facing legal threats on multiple fronts, most notably in recent weeks for improperly storing top-secret government documents in a basement room at his Mar-a-Lago golf club ― potentially in violation of federal law.
On Tuesday morning, he went on a rampage via Truth Social, “re-truthing” around 60 posts, according to a count by Rolling Stone. Most attacked President Joe Biden, and one went so far as to claim ― yet again ― that Trump had actually won the 2020 election and should be reinstated to the Oval Office.
HuffPost’s requests for comment from Truth Social was not immediately returned.