By Daniel Chaitin, Deputy News Editor
Former President Donald Trump is creating a media company and social media network meant to “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech.”
The 45th president, who has been kicked off Twitter and Facebook, announced the creation of “TRUTH Social” in a press release from the Trump Media & Technology Group on Wednesday.
TRUTH Social is already available for pre-order in the Apple App store, the press release said, and the app plans to start its beta launch for invited guests in November. A national rollout is expected in the first quarter of 2022.
“I created TRUTH Social and TMTG to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech,” Trump, who is the chairman of TMTG, said in the press release.
“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 added.
The terms of service for TRUTH Social, which was last updated in September, lists a number of prohibited activities. Among them, near the bottom, is a rule that users cannot “disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the Site.”
The press release said TMTG entered into a “definitive merger agreement” with Digital World Acquisition Corp. that will result in TMTG becoming a publicly listed company, subject to regulatory and stockholder approval.
“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,” TMTG said in the press release.
TMTG’s growth plans initially will be funded by DWAC’s cash in trust of $293 million, assuming minimal redemptions, which Patrick Orlando, chairman and CEO of the Digital World Acquisition Corp., said “can fuel TMTG’s scale up, including to provide world class leading technology services to build strong and secure social networks and diverse media offerings.”
The press release also said TMTG intends to start a subscription video on-demand service, TMTG+, that will “feature ‘non-work’ entertainment programming, news, podcasts, and more.”
Former Trump spokesman Jason Miller, who is now chief executive officer of another social media platform, GETTR, congratulated Trump on his new venture.
“Congratulations to President Trump for re-entering the social media fray!” Miller said. “Now Facebook and Twitter will lose even more market share. President Trump has always been a great deal-maker, but we just couldn’t come to terms on a deal. And get ready for the new platform features GETTR has on the way: live-streaming, GVision short videos and our GETTR Pay payments system capabilities. Exciting new additions that will provide our global customer base an even better user experience. Let the downloads begin!”
A tweeter even before his presidency began, Trump made news throughout his four years in the White House with his statements on social media, whether they were to announce policy, firings, and hirings, or in some cases for confusing messages such as his “covfefe” tweet in 2017.
But, after many of Trump’s posts were hit with cautionary labels indicating they contained misinformation, he was widely de-platformed following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, with Twitter, Facebook, and others arguing Trump’s words and actions preceding the attack incited violence.
Though the bans may not be permanent, the Big Tech platforms have indicated Trump may not be welcomed back anytime soon, with Facebook’s independent Oversight Board determining on June 4 the ban would remain in place for at least two years .
Earlier this month, Trump sued to get back his Twitter account , which had tens of millions of followers, and asked a federal judge to force Facebook to reinstate him as he seeks to use the social media giant to influence elections in 2022 — and possibly a 2024 bid of his own.
Trump brought a class-action lawsuit in July alleging censorship by Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s YouTube, along with their respective CEOs Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Sundar Pichai.
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