by Sarah TITTERTON
WASHINGTON, D.C., United States (AFP) – Former US president Donald Trump announced plans Wednesday to launch his own social network, in the latest push to reclaim his internet dominance after he was banned from Twitter and Facebook in the wake of the violent Capitol insurrection.
“TRUTH Social” will be owned by Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), and is expected to begin its beta launch for “invited guests” next month. It is already available for pre-order in Apple’s App Store, the group said in a statement.
TMTG also intends to launch a subscription video on-demand service that will feature “non-woke” entertainment programming and will be led by Scott St. John, an executive producer from “Deal Or No Deal” and “America’s Got Talent,” the statement said.
“I created TRUTH Social and TMTG to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech,” Trump, who was banned from Twitter and Facebook for stoking the attack at the US Capitol on January 6, was quoted as saying in the statement.
“We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced. This is unacceptable,” he continued.
The Trump Media & Technology Group will merge with blank check company Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC) to make TMTG a publicly listed company, the statement said.
“The transaction values Trump Media & Technology Group at an initial enterprise value of $875 Million, with a potential additional earnout of $825 Million in additional shares (at the valuation they are granted) for a cumulative valuation of up to $1.7 Billion depending on the performance of the stock price post-business combination,” it stated.
“Given the total addressable market and President Trump’s large following, we believe the TMTG opportunity has the potential to create significant shareholder value,” DWAC chief Patrick Orlando said in the statement.
For years, Trump, who wielded Twitter in particular as a rhetorical weapon during his presidency, has battled tech giants whom he argues have wrongfully censored him.
The free-speech fight escalated when Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the rest of the world’s dominant social media platforms banned him as punishment for stirring up the mob that ransacked Congress.
Ever since, Trump has been looking for ways to reclaim his internet megaphone, launching several lawsuits against the tech giants.
In May, he launched a blog called “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” which was touted as a major new outlet — but he pulled it from the internet just a month later.
Former Trump aide Jason Miller launched a social network called Gettr earlier this year, but the Republican has not yet joined it.
Shortly after TRUTH Social was announced, Miller congratulated Trump on “re-entering the social media fray.”
“Now Facebook and Twitter will lose even more market share,” he said in a statement tweeted by Gettr.
Facebook banned Trump indefinitely on January 7 over his incendiary comments that preceded the Capitol insurrection, later narrowing the ban to two years.
Twitter quickly followed, permanently suspending Trump’s account — which had more than 88 million followers at the time — due to the “risk of further incitement of violence.”
Trump has begun holding public events, including campaign-style rallies, as he seeks to remain the nation’s most influential Republican.
He has teased a potential 2024 presidential run but has made no announcement on his political future.
© Agence France-Presse