Not Fake News – Truth Social Rollout Very Buggy
Former Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
In the 21st century, “truth” can be very subjective. However, there are a few absolute facts from Monday’s “President’s Day” rollout of Truth Social, the new social media platform that was released by former President Donald Trump’s media group.
First, the app reached the top spot of free downloads on the Apple App Store, and that it is currently only available for iOS for download – while an Android version will come later.
Unlike Twitter – which the service reportedly closely resembles – it isn’t available for the PC either. Perhaps the platform’s developers think social media should only be accessed through handsets, or perhaps they did not consider the importance of desktop PCs in the social media era.
Buggy Launch – That Is A Fact
Also a fact, while hundreds of thousands of users may have signed up, most have found themselves unable to actually start spreading the truth. Multiple news sites have shared similar stories where users who signed up were greeted with a stream of error messages.
In addition, hundreds of thousands of users have also reported to have been placed on waitlists.
At various times on Monday, visitors to the TruthSocial website were greeted with a very direct message: “Due to the overwhelming demand at launch, we are currently rate-limited on onboarding new users to the platform. We are working to increase signup capacity for onboarding and will continue to update this status as capacity increases.”
Monday might have been the official launch of Truth Social, but it seems very much in the beta testing stage at this point.
Former Republican Congressman Devin Nunes of California, a Trump loyalist who now heads Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), even admitted that the full service was still weeks away.
“Our goal is, I think we’re going to hit it, I think by the end of March we’re going to be fully operational at least within the United States,” Nunes told Fox News on Sunday.
Launch Day Bugs – So What?
Throughout Monday, users on Twitter – the platform that had banned the former president and led to his decision to build a competing platform – took aim at the far from perfect launch of Truth Social. But it could be argued that it was an easy target.
Today big brand tech launches regularly face such glitches.
“No launch is bug free and nobody should be surprised that Truth Social has some glitches,” said technology industry analyst Roger Entner of Recon Analytics. “Unless there are frequent crashes and the app is functionally unusable it has no impact on the future success of the platform.”
One consideration too is that the crashes, as well as the waitlists, came as a result of strong demand. The site may have bugs and other kinks to work out, yet, the fact that hundreds of thousands joined on the first day should be just as notable.
The success or failure of Truth Social will not be determined by the day one rollout.
“Launching any new Web-based service is likely to result in at least a few hiccups. That’s especially true for projects that, by design, aim to shake up and reshape markets and competitive environments,” added Charles King, principal analyst and founder of Pund-IT. “Former Congressman Devin Nunes understands that which is why he has pointedly said that the site and service will likely not be fully operational until the end of March.”
Open To Debate?
Another consideration will be whether platform has as “fiery a debate” as other platforms, or if it will just be a platform for former President Trump to connect with his supporters. There is no denying that some users may simply want to hear from the former president and not face the filters that have been imposed by other platforms, yet that might not result in lasting success.
In fact, some debate could be crucial to the platform’s future – yet, that would require that many who didn’t vote or otherwise support Trump also sign up.
“What determines the success of Truth Social is how many people who disagree with former President Trump will sign up and how lively will be the back and forth between people of different opinions,” explained Entner, who has followed such high profile launches for decades.
It is unlikely that we’ll see only Trump supporters on Truth Social, but if that happens, it might not be best for the platform.
“Any platform that only has people of the same opinion constantly agreeing with each other doesn’t drive engagement because it is boring,” Entner added. “Nothing is worse than boring. For the good and bad, people come for the fireworks when different opinions clash.”
Other platforms have attempted to take on Twitter, which was one of former President Trump’s preferred methods for sharing his opinions, with mixed results. What could be different this time is that Trump supports could be interested to hear what he has to say after Twitter essentially silenced the former president last year.
While it is now his platform and his rules, that could also present problems.
“The larger challenge that the company faces is its owner’s lack of messaging discipline,” added Pund-IT’s King. “Instead of keeping expectations realistic or reasonable, Donald Trump has predictably hyped Truth Social as something that will take down Twitter and other deeply established social platforms from the get go. That is unlikely in nearly every plausible scenario which amplifies the haplessness of his company’s stumbling out of the gate.”