By Katabella Roberts
Shares of the company which is taking former President Donald Trump’s social media platform public rose nearly 20 percent on Thursday after a listing on Apple’s app store showed an expected start date of Feb. 21—the U.S. Presidents’ Day holiday.
Trump Media and Technology Group and Digital World Acquisition Corp., a Special Purpose Acquisition Vehicle (SPAC), announced in October that they would merge to create a social media app called TRUTH Social. SPACs use money raised through an initial public offering to take a private company public.
At the time the merger was announced, Trump’s company said it planned a full roll-out in the first quarter of 2022.
A December Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing shows that Digital World Acquisition has received “certain preliminary, fact-finding inquiries” from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) associated with stock trades around the time of the merger agreement. Digital World Acquisition said it is cooperating.
Promoted as an alternative to Twitter, Truth Social is currently available for pre-order and is set to go live on the U.S. Presidents’ Day holiday, a day which honors presidents of the nation, including the first president, George Washington.
Digital World Acquisition’s stocks rose 19.66 percent on Thursday after the expected launch date was revealed.
Similar to Twitter, the app allows users to set up a profile, connect with other users, and access the “truth feed” where they can “get the scoop on the latest thoughts and activities from the people, organizations, and news outlets that interest you.”
The app does not discriminate on the basis of political ideology.
“Let your voice be heard. Sign up, join the conversation, and share your unique opinion by posting a TRUTH, Re-TRUTH, photo, news story, or video link to communicate with your friends, customers, and the world,” a description of the social media app reads. “Stay informed about breaking news while staying directly connected with the people who influence you—don’t be shocked if they take your TRUTH viral!”
Trump has been noticeably absent from social media since he was booted off multiple platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, before he left office in January for allegedly violating the companies’ terms of service with some of his posts.
Both executives at the big tech companies and lawmakers have accused the former president of encouraging violence at the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol, a claim Trump vehemently denies. His last Facebook post called for “everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful” and non-violent and to respect law and order.
On Thursday, which marked the one-year anniversary of the Capitol breach, President Joe Biden condemned the incident and promised to let no one “place a dagger at the throat of our democracy.” Biden was certified the winner of the 2020 election by 74 electoral votes, and was deemed to have won key battleground states, including Georgia, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
“For the first time in our history, a president had not just lost an election, he tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol,” Biden said from the Capitol. He accused Trump of having “created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election.”
Trump has maintained that he was the real winner of the 2020 presidential election and asserted that electoral fraud and reported irregularities linked to the increased use of mail-in voting were reasons for his loss.