Trump Truth Social app will be fully operational by end of March, Nunes says | Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s rightwing riposte to Twitter – his new social media app Truth Social – is supposed to launch on Monday. But the rollout of what the former president hopes will be the start of a new media empire continues to be shrouded in confusion and secrecy.

Devin Nunes, the former Republican congressman and Trump loyalist who heads the Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), told Fox News on Sunday Truth Social would make its debut on the Apple App Store this week. The app is featured on the store, with the notice “Expected Feb 21”.

But the launch has been beset with delays. On the Fox News show Sunday Morning Futures, Nunes indicated that a full service was still weeks away.

“Our goal is, I think we’re going to hit it, I think by the end of March we’re going to be fully operational at least within the United States,” he said.

Truth Social is Trump’s answer to having been permanently thrown off Twitter after the company ruled that the then president’s tweets leading up to the US Capitol attack on January 6 2021 violated its policy against glorification of violence. The decision cut Trump off from direct contact with almost 90m followers.

Facebook has also suspended Trump for comments inciting violence at the Capitol, but has left open the possibility of a return.

Glimpses of what Truth Social will look like have been given in the past few days, prompting the observation that it looks remarkably similar to Twitter. Instead of blue ticks to denote verified accounts, it will use red ticks.

Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr., tweeted a screenshot of his father’s first post on Truth Social, which said: “Get ready! Your favorite President will see you soon! ”

The remark was much less memorable than the fact that the Truth Social screenshot and Donald Jr.’s actual tweet looked virtually identical.

Truth Social describes itself as a “big tent” social media platform “that encourages an open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating against political ideology”.

But given the initial teething problems of the launch, the former president could find it difficult to fill the hole in his public profile left by his banishment from established social media.

Twitter records more than 200 million daily active users and Facebook almost 2 billion. By contrast Gettr, a social media outlet set up by Jason Miller, a former Trump adviser, claims 4 million users on average per month.

Gettr is part of a growing number of social media start-ups vying to take on tech giants they accuse of censoring rightwing ideology. Gettr, Parler and Gab all present as rightwing alternatives to Twitter.

Rumble is a video platform that sets itself up as a conservative competition to YouTube. The company has said it will be providing video on the Truth Social app.

The proliferation of rightwing social media sites, despite their relatively small reach compared to Silicon Valley giants, is prompting concern about their political impact.

Observers have questioned whether the start-ups, which present themselves as forums for open untrammeled discussion, will act as breeding grounds for misinformation on subjects such as vaccinations, the climate crisis and election integrity.

Truth Social has promised to ensure that its contents are “family friendly” and has reportedly entered into a partnership with a San Francisco company, Hive, which will moderate posts using cloud-based artificial intelligence.

Even the new app’s name is likely to be controversial, given Trump’s legendary struggles with veracity. The Washington Post calculated that in the four years of his presidency, the man now behind Truth Social made 30,573 false or misleading claims.

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