Is Trump-owned Truth Social a viable alternative to Elon Musk’s Twitter?

Godfrey Elimian
Is Trump-owned Truth Social a viable alternative to Twitter, amidst potential influx
Is Trump-owned Truth Social a viable alternative to Twitter, amidst potential influx

“It seems Elon Musk lacked motherly love and toys to play with growing up as a child”, a tweep said on Twitter some days ago. This was after Musk released a tweet claiming people now spend a lot of time on Twitter and hence, the need to place a limit on people’s access and usage of the platform.

According to Mr Musk’s tweet, people should go out more and relate with friends and family instead of scrolling back and forth on Twitter. This, he says, has become some sort of obsession and an addiction to many.

Not sure when he assumed the office of a “social media principal”, but since acquiring the social media platform, and looking for ways to drive profit higher, Musk has introduced a couple of policies that have become superfluous for a lot of users of the platform. As a de facto town hall, which was formerly perceived as fair, open, unfettered, and available, Twitter is evolving into a platform that is segregated, tightly regulated, and exploited for financial gain with an egotistical personality in charge of its decision-making.

It is no wonder the platform was thrown into a frenzy some days back following Musk’s announcement that specific restrictions would be implemented. Verified accounts were temporarily limited to reading 6,000 posts per day, while unverified accounts were limited to 600 posts per day. You can know all about this policy here.

Many people believe that this is the final straw that will bring about the platform’s demise, and as a result, have started looking for alternatives where they can continue to do business without having to worry about a maniac hovering over them all the time.

Several people have found the Truth Social to be relevant in this situation. The platform which is now been touted as an alternative to Twitter, was developed by the Trump Media & Technology Group. Incidentally, the corporation was founded by the former US president, Donald Trump in October 2021 following his ouster on Jack Dorsey-led Twitter.

While there have been certain reports that the platform crashed recently with the surge in registrations and users, brought about by the displeasure in Twitter’s recent activities, more people, especially Nigerians have continually swooped into the platform to find solace. This article looks at Truth Social as a potential substitute for the widely used and favoured Twitter, which allows for a variety of social interactions.

Truth Social, Trump’s alternative of a free-speech platform

The Google Play store initially rejected the Truth Social app because it did not remove posts that incited violence (though the store did make it available after the site took more steps to moderate these posts). In contrast, there have also been reports of Truth Social blocking content due to the political views expressed, and the platform’s terms of service prohibit sexual and violent content.

But putting that aside, Truth Social has a recognisable look and features that are evocative of Twitter, perhaps because it was designed to be a rival to the platform. It offers the same features as it, allowing users to publish brief messages, follow others, and engage through comments and likes.

While its target audience aligns with Twitter’s user base, Truth Social differentiates itself through its branding and its emphasis on providing a platform for conservative voices. So, whereas Twitter users identify with a catchphrase like “tweets” for posts, for TS, posts are called “Truths”.

Its feed is like your Twitter newsfeed, populated with posts from all the users you follow. Search provides users with a way to discover new profiles, truths, and popular “trending” hashtags. Alerts are the equivalent of Twitter notifications, showing all the “re-truths” – basically retweets – and mentions of your handle. Messages are where private messages from other users would live if they worked. So basically, it is the “Truth of Twitter” for a lack of better phrase.

How does Truth compare with Twitter?

The Truth Social interface has a clean, simplified look without too many extras but then, the reviews have been mixed. While some appreciate its simplicity and intuitive design, others find it lacking the polish of more established platforms. The navigation appears straightforward, allowing users to swiftly locate content and engage with fellow users.

Its user interface closely resembles Twitter’s but has several gaps in functionality. You can reply, reblog, and like “truths” but you can’t add your own comments in quote-tweet style. You can however block and mute users.

Also, reviews reveal that there are some pretty prominent bugs on Truth Social and the search function doesn’t appear to work particularly well either. Sometimes, your published “truths” might even take some time before it is reflected on your own page. The platform which is meant to be a haven for discussion, conservative ones at that, feels more like a Bot Social.

However, just like Twitter, Truth Social seems to have a service for verifying users with a red check mark, but few profiles had it, Donal Trump is one of the few.

The approach to content moderation and free speech on Truth Social is a topic of significant interest. While Twitter has faced criticism for perceived bias in moderating content, Truth Social has positioned itself as a champion of free speech.

Thus, striking the delicate balance between permitting diverse viewpoints and preventing the spread of harmful or false information remains a challenge. The efficacy of Truth Social’s content moderation policies will be closely watched as the platform grows with the surge in users.

Truth Social’s user base is considerably fueled by the large following Trump amassed during his presidency. His dedicated supporters migrated to the platform hoping to attract and connect with like-minded individuals while receiving updates from their political icon. So currently, if you join the platform, you are likely to be greeted by linked-out articles on websites rather than original content.

However, the platform’s success hinges on its ability to attractant maintain a broader audience beyond Trump’s sphere of influence, ensuring its longevity and impact.

Truth Social

Is Truth Social a viable alternative to Twitter?

Although this is not an outright review, Truth Social is still extremely far from being a final product. Some people even assert that the app is still very much in beta. While the platform might serve as a temporary substitute, it is insufficient to support a large number of personalities and audiences that would be seeking to flee the harsh realities that have undermined Twitter’s basic core.

Technical and operational issues, such as scalability and ensuring robust infrastructure, will need to be addressed to avoid setbacks that may impede user adoption. Just as envisaged, there were speculations that the platform already crashed with the surge of people migrating there the last few days.

One positive though is that at the moment, the Truth Social app is completely free to use. For Twitter, on the other hand, a Twitter Blue subscription starts at $8 per month, with the main draw for paying users being a verified Blue check. Subscribers also get additional features at this price, but the vast majority of Twitter is still free to use.

Many tweeps have already started using Truth Social and are expressing delight at moving to the platform, despite the initial inadequacies and difficulties. Like any evolution, it might take some time to perfect itself for the platform, but if Musk keeps up his antics, Truth Social might ultimately get it right and just become a viable choice.

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