Former President Donald Trump’s social media app Truth Social is now available for download on both iOS and Android even though the platform seemingly violates both companies’ guidelines as it is a vector for extreme content and has become entangled with the QAnon community.
On October 12, Google Play approved Truth Social for Android after initially rejecting the app in August for insufficient content moderation. The platform apparently violated the app store’s policies prohibiting apps with content related to physical threats and incitement to violence. Google has allowed the app to join the store after assurances from Truth Social that it would comply with Google’s content moderation requirements.
The Truth Social app was launched on Apple’s App Store in February, despite the fact that the app seemingly violated Apple’s moderation requirements as well, which are similar to Google Play’s. Since launching, Media Matters and others have documented Truth Social’s apparent violations of App Store policies, as the platform has become plagued by extreme content, QAnon adherents, and Trump’s own harmful rhetoric. Recent activity on the platform makes it clear that Truth Social fails to moderate content that threatens or encourages violence, including from users who promote the QAnon conspiracy theory, and that the platform is not going to follow Google Play’s requirements, just as it hasn’t followed Apple’s.
To see Truth Social’s content moderation shortcomings, one need only look to Trump’s own account. Trump continues to push and amplify election misinformation and the QAnon conspiracy theory on Truth Social, alongside other false claims. On October 3, Media Matters reported:
While suspended from Meta’s platforms and other social media, Trump launched Truth Social in February to get back online and avoid moderation. The platform has become a home for dangerous and hateful content, including Trump’s own 1,524 posts (through October 2) and an additional 673 posts that he has shared. In fact, many of these posts are centered around pushing election misinformation, attacking and inciting violence against his political foes, and promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Trump has repeatedly amplified and pandered to the QAnon community on Truth Social. Based on Media Matters' analysis, Trump has amplified at least 61 QAnon accounts more than 130 times on Truth Social. On September 27 and 28, Trump amplified at least 11 different QAnon accounts a total of 22 times.
Since then, Trump has continued to post on Truth Social, with an additional 240 posts and 61 reposts through October 16. Among these posts is an antisemitic post from October 16, in which Trump says, “U.S. Jews have to get their act together ... Before it is too late!” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt has called the post “insulting and disgusting.”
He has additionally amplified QAnon accounts 4 times since October 3.
Truth Social’s entanglements with the QAnon community are far-reaching. QAnon supporters have found a home on the platform, as Trump panders to them by amplifying their content and even posting a video featuring footage of himself speaking at his rallies and criticizing President Joe Biden while featuring QAnon-related audio and visuals. Truth Social leadership also seems to have embraced the community, suggesting that their platform is trying to “incorporate” QAnon “into our overall messaging scheme to capture audiences.” And just a few days ago, the CEO of a shell corporation that was formed specifically to merge with the company running Truth Social went on a QAnon show to advocate for his own shareholders to delay the merger.
Even though Truth Social has embraced the QAnon community (which has been tied to numerous acts of violence), Apple and Google are distributing the platform to their users via their app stores. Both companies removed the Parler app from their stores for incitement of violence in the wake of the January 6 insurrection, but they have since reinstated Parler and are now allowing the Truth Social app and its similar user base and similarly harmful content.