Donald Trump, the twice-impeached former U.S. president who has repeatedly spread falsehoods about the 2020 election, announced that he’s launching a social media network called (really) Truth Social.
Trump also claims to be prepping the launch of a subscription-streaming service stocked with “non-woke” entertainment programming.
In an Oct. 20 press release, an entity called the Trump Media & Technology Group said its mission is to “create a rival to the liberal media consortium and fight back against the ‘Big Tech’ companies of Silicon Valley, which have used their unilateral power to silence opposing voices in America.”
Trump was kicked off (or suspended from) all major internet platforms over his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol during which he expressed support for rioters who were aiming to overturn the results of the 2020 election. This summer, the ex-president sued Facebook, Twitter and Google (and their CEOs) alleging they violated his First Amendment rights, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t prohibit private companies from restricting speech and that internet services are allowed under U.S. law to remove harmful content.
Trump Media & Technology Group, or TMTG, said it will launch the Truth Social app in beta on an invitation-only basis in November. The company expects a public rollout in the first quarter of 2022.
“I created Truth Social and TMTG to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech,” Trump, who was identified as the chairman of TMTG, said in a statement. “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. I am excited to send out my first Truth on Truth Social very soon. TMTG was founded with a mission to give a voice to all. I’m excited to soon begin sharing my thoughts on Truth Social and to fight back against Big Tech. Everyone asks me why doesn’t someone stand up to Big Tech? Well, we will be soon!”
During his four years in the White House, Trump made a total of 30,573 false or misleading claims, according to a tally by the Washington Post. That included his numerous baseless statements (and lawsuits) alleging widespread voter fraud and/or malfeasance that led to his defeat in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Trump Media & Technology Group plans to become a publicly traded entity through a merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The transaction values Trump Media & Technology Group at an initial enterprise value of $875 million, with a potential for a cumulative valuation of up to $1.7 billion depending on the performance of the stock price post-merger, the companies claim. TMTG initially will be funded by DWAC’s cash holdings of $293 million, according to the companies.
The Trump subscription VOD service is to be called TMTG Plus. The company said Scott St. John, a former executive producer of shows including “Deal or No Deal” and “America’s Got Talent,” will lead TMTG Plus corporate operations. It didn’t disclose pricing or an expected launch date. The SVOD service will include entertainment programming as well as “news, podcasts and more.”
Digital World Acquisition Corp., a so-called “blank check” company formed in December 2020, previously said in planned to focus on a business combination with “middle-market and emerging growth technology-focused companies in the Americas, in SaaS [software as a service] and Technology or Fintech and Financial Services,” according to SEC filings. The company is led by Patrick Orlando, who has been involved as an executive, sponsor and Director in several SPACs including Yunhong International, Benessere Capital Acquisition Corp. and Maquia Capital Acquisition Corp. From 1998-2003, Orlando worked at Deutsche Bank in roles including director of emerging markets fixed income derivatives.