Former US President Donald Trump’s new social media platform has debuted with more user demand than it can handle, instantly leading Apple’s app store in new downloads for free apps, and drawing a lengthy waiting list.
Truth Social shot to the top of the charts on Monday, its first day of availability for users of iPhone and other Apple devices, beating out the likes of TikTok, YouTube and Instagram. It is not yet offered for Android-based devices or users outside the US.
The app was available for download on Monday for Apple users who pre-ordered Truth Social. However, many who tried to join struggled to register, getting an error message or being told that, “Due to massive demand, we have placed you on our waitlist.”
According to CNN, the waiting list had more than 150,000 signees on day one of release. The virtual line stretched to over 370,000 on Tuesday morning, some would-be users reported.
Trump ally Devin Nunes, the former Republican congressman who is now chief executive of the ex-president’s media company, has said that Truth Social aims to be “fully operational” by the end of March, at which point “anyone can get on the platform within the United States at any time.”
Platforms billing themselves as havens of free speech have seen strong user demand amid increasing complaints of censorship by the Big Tech giants, including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. In his last days in the White House, the then-president himself was banned from those three platforms following the Capitol riot. Parler was so overwhelmed with new users in late 2020 that its systems crashed. And the platform was shut down in January 2021, when Amazon terminated its web-hosting services, but it later re-emerged with a new host and offered a version with stricter content controls to regain access to Apple’s app store.
Truth Social is a Twitter-like platform in its design, with “truths” instead of “tweets” and “retruths” instead of “retweets.” Downloads are reportedly being paced with daily limits.
Trump’s fledgling media company, Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), landed $1 billion in funding commitments in December, a feat that Trump touted as a harbinger of success. “$1 billion sends an important message to Big Tech that censorship and political discrimination must end,” he said at the time.