Politics

Internet laughs as experts expect Donald Trump’s “Twitter clone” to flop hard

Donald J. Trump
Donald J. TrumpPhoto: Shutterstock

Donald Trump’s new social media platform’s launch has been delayed yet again, and experts are already saying that it won’t be the smashing success Trump believes it will be as the internet mocks the first post on the site.

Truth Social – which was set to launch on February 21 but has been delayed until March – published Trump’s first post… on Twitter, on Trump’s son’s account because Trump got banned from Twitter last year.

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Trump was banned from many mainstream social media platforms for spreading election misinformation, misinformation that led to violence at the Capitol Insurrection. Truth Social is, in fact, meant to be a response to that: Trump said that he was motivated to start the new platform “to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech.”

Donald Trump Jr. posted a screenshot of his dad’s first message on Truth Social: “Get Ready! Your favorite President will see you soon!”

“Time for some Truth!!!” Trump Jr. wrote above the screenshot, which looks an awful lot like Twitter except that the blue check symbol is red.

“Trump’s first post on his Twitter clone site was written to people not on the site,” wrote one commenter on Twitter. “This was written to be a screenshot post on Twitter. This will be such a glorious dumpster fire.”

Someone else on Twitter noted that Trump’s first post was a day old and only got 49 likes (it’s unclear how the likes on Truth Social function at the moment).

Another person remarked on just how similar Truth Social’s design is to Twitter’s.

Social media experts aren’t predicting that Truth Social will be a success, noting that it’s far from the first social media platform created for conservatives who are angry that mainstream platforms won’t allow them to openly support hatred of minorities, spread misinformation, or personally attack people they disagree with. GETTR, Gab, Rumble, and Parler were all started with a focus on “free speech,” which in reality meant far-right speech.

“The more people who join, the more value [these sites] provide. That’s a fundamental premise of social media,” Joshua Tucker of NYU’s Center for Social Media and Politics told TIME. “So when you start out by lopping off [a large percentage] of the population, that gets more challenging because it’s harder to scale.”

“And that’s especially the case when there are alternatives out there that have don’t have the same limitations as you,” he added, noting that most social media platforms cater to political discussions as well as entertainment, humor, personal matters, and other topics the audience finds engaging.

Tucker said that the best Truth Social can hope for is to “suck the air out of” Parler and the other conservative social media platforms by pulling their audiences away.

“If Trump’s able to do that, it probably means the rest of those platforms fade away and we’re in a new world where we have the mainstream platforms and one really big right-wing platform,” he said. But if Truth Social can’t push them out of the market, then it probably won’t be able to get “real ad revenue,” Tucker said.

“There’s a whole social network for beer enthusiasts where they can come together and post reviews of beers,” University of Southern California information sciences professor Kristina Lerman said. “It’s great that such a community exists where like-minded people can meet each other. But that doesn’t mean that kind of niche community will be attractive to the mainstream.”

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