Tech Turmoil: Could Trump’s Truth Social App Fall Apart?

October 18, 2022 Topic: Truth Region: United States Blog Brand: Politics Tags: Donald TrumpTruth SocialSocial MediaTwitterWashington Post

Tech Turmoil: Could Trump’s Truth Social App Fall Apart?

A new report from the Washington Post reveals turmoil at Truth Social, former President Donald Trump’s social media project.

 

A company connected to former President Donald Trump launched Truth Social, a new social network designed for supporters of Trump, especially following his banishment from Twitter in early 2021. The network, though, has been plagued by various problems ever since its launch, including, in its earlier days, a waiting list for users to sign up. 

Truth Social is part of the Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG), and a special purpose acquisitions company (SPAC) called Digital World Acquisition Corp. (DWAC) is scheduled to take it public. However, CNBC reported in August about a securities filing in which the company warned of trouble if the former president’s popularity fell. 

 

“If President Trump becomes less popular or there are further controversies that damage his credibility or the desire of people to use a platform associated with him, and from which he will derive financial benefit, TMTG’s results of operations, as well as the outcome of the proposed Business combination, could be adversely affected,” DWAC said in that filing. 

Truth Social did reportedly enjoy a surge in downloads in the week after the FBI searched the former president’s estate in Florida. 

Now, a new report from the Washington Post cites additional turmoil at Truth Social.  The report was based on a whistleblower complaint filed by Will Wilkerson, a former employee of the company who was fired after speaking to the newspaper. Wilkerson is cooperating with investigations by both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York.

The report says that according to a former employee, Trump once called his co-founder,  Andy Litinsky, and asked him to give some of his shares to Trump’s wife, former First Lady Melania Trump. Litinsky declined, stating that “the gift would have meant a huge tax bill he couldn’t pay.” Litinsky, a former contestant on The Apprentice and conservative talk show host, was later removed from the board. 

Litinsky also said that Trump’s two oldest sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, both asked for stakes in the company despite not having any day-to-day involvement in it. 

“We weren’t trying to be Trump Org 2.0,” Wilkerson, the whistleblower, told the Post. “We always saw Trump as the rocket fuel to send this thing to space. I wanted this to succeed more than anything. … But these are glaring issues, and they’re threatening me now for calling them out. I couldn’t stay quiet anymore,” he added.

Wilkerson was also critical of Devin Nunes, the former Republican lawmaker from California who resigned from Congress to become the CEO of Trump’s media company. 

Per the Post, Nunes "began exhorting workers to come in early and stay late and berating company officials over what he saw as flawed decision-making. Wilkerson added that he believed this fueled acrimony among the company’s more established employees.”

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters.