Trump, Truth Social, and the Dispossessed - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Trump, Truth Social, and the Dispossessed

Darrell, a software engineer from West Virginia, uses his real name on Truth Social, the social media site launched two weeks ago by President Donald Trump and run by former Republican Congressman Devin Nunes. Darrell left his anonymity behind on Twitter after he was repeatedly “put in Twitter jail” for tweeting that there are two genders and celebrating the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict. Says the new Truth Social user, “My hope for Truth Social is that I won’t have to worry about being censored for having a different opinion anymore, including self-censorship. I am no longer using a pseudonym. The ethos behind Truth Social is that you should be able to speak the truth without fear of discrimination.”

Approximately 100,000 users have joined Truth Social with Darrell. One them is @Craig, who is delighted to get the first name moniker. Like Darrell, Craig expressed alarm about Donald Trump being deplatformed. He says,

To give you an idea about my use of Social Media, I have for the most part stopped it, I’ve removed all my tweets, removed my Instagram account in protest over Meta (then called Facebook), treatment of Trump. If they can do that to a sitting President, imagine what is possible for anyone else? So I’ve been against the use of it, or articulating on it. I didn’t need my house, job or livelihood ruined for using it….

In this day and age a company will sacrifice you under the bus for the sake of appeasing the Twitter Mob (actually, it’s more a modern version of volcano sacrifice), and I work for a company where it might happen. Also, to give you an idea on my political views and past/current career, also means I have to stay extremely quiet about my political views. Call it the “Reds Under The Beds In Reverse”.

Driven into hiding and off Twitter and Facebook, the social media dispossessed have looked for other homes, including Gab, Gettr, and Minds, and found them wanting for various reasons. They have high hopes with Truth Social. The platform resembles Twitter while allowing for more characters per post. There are rumors of integrated video like Periscope and a desktop version coming in the near future. Currently, the platform is available only on Apple, not Android, phones.

The bios of Truth Social users often include the number of Twitter followers they had before being booted. One user, @WomanOutsideTheMatrix, had a verified account with 250,000 followers. She’s starting over. @SteveConquistador had 25,000 Twitter followers but was permanently banned from Twitter for posting a meme about Biden and crack pipes. @realchughs says, “I’m in! I have been canceled from all the major platforms including a 30,000 person group of Trump supporters that was canceled and deleted from Facebook weeks before the 2020 election.”

Besides being pro-Trump, questioning COVID protocols and treatments, sharing dissenting scientific studies, and purveying what’s described as “misinformation” are some of the multitude of reasons for deplatforming from Facebook and Twitter. Some Truth Social users advertise their defiance by labeling themselves “Truthers” or “Pure Blood.” What’s a Pure Blood? Pure Bloods are a Harry Potter reference applied to those who refused to get vaccinated. Preventative, early-COVID, and long-COVID treatments are widely disseminated on Truth Social. Many deplatformed dissenting doctors now dispense wisdom on Truth Social.

Anti-COVID-protocol Truth Social users feel vindicated this week. The CDC mask guidance changed before the State of the Union address on the same day Pfizer released its 30-page report with nine pages of mRNA vaccine side effects. In the case of the vaccine side effects, the reaction on Twitter was and continues to be muted. The hypocrisy of the maskless State of the Union played both on Twitter and Truth Social.

The contrast between what’s news on Twitter and what’s news on Truth Social can be dramatic. During and after President Trump’s CPAC speech, clips and analysis were shared liberally on Truth Social. On Twitter, it was as though the speech wasn’t happening. Two days before, polling revealed that 62 percent of Americans believed that the Russia–Ukraine conflict would not have happened under Trump. Was there curiosity about Trump’s analysis? Not on Twitter. On Truth Social, where Beta users signed up for the social media platform because it was owned by Trump, the coverage was plentiful and effusive.

When the Wisconsin inspector general, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court judge, released his interim findings from his 2020 presidential election fraud investigation, the news was ignored on Twitter. On Truth Social, various right-leaning outlets covered the press conference live and then extensively analyzed the results in detail afterwards.

The contrast between what’s news on Twitter and what’s news on Truth Social can be dramatic.

Siloed social media is beginning to dichotomize the news. Rather than engagement between competing versions of reality on one big platform like Facebook or Twitter, people who don’t hold to the official narrative are shunned and end up places like Truth Social. The main benefit to luminaries on the bigger platforms: they don’t have to be upset by competitive worldviews.

A good example of this dichotomy is the Russia–Ukraine war. At the Russian invasion’s outset, Twitter was filled with Ukrainian propaganda — most of which turned out to be false, including the Snake Island story (Truth: Ukraine soldiers surrendered and were not killed), the “girl yelling at the soldier” story (Truth: Palestinian girl yelling at Israeli soldier), and the “beauty pageant winner fighting for her country” story (Truth: turns out she likes playing with airsoft guns). These stories were met with skepticism on Truth Social and debunked immediately. Meanwhile, verified Twitter users with vast followings liked and shared the disinformation enthusiastically. The Truth Social users, deeply suspicious of the mainstream media and tech companies, reflexively distrust their narratives.

Twitter management and power users helped to bury stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop and boot those like Darrell who shared the story. They elevated the Russia collusion hoax. Those who questioned the narrative were marginalized. Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook unquestioningly upheld CDC orthodoxy, including changing positions on mask mandates and vaccination mandates and ignored troubling or contradicting vaccine research. They banned people those who traded in “misinformation,” destroying careers and reputations overnight. The misinformers turned out to be right about treatments, vaccine side effects, and masking and mandates.

Rather than entertain a competing narrative and debate it on the merits, the mainstream media, tech oligarchy, and government work in concert to suppress them. But is this good for the body politic? The shunning is creating a lopsided view of reality and suppressing dissenting voices.

Twitter suspended Marina Medvin, attorney for January 6 defendants, and gave no reason for doing so. Ms. Medvin now has a Truth Social account. She says, “I don’t enjoy politically undiverse platforms — I don’t like being in an echo chamber. I am hoping that once Trump starts posting again TDS will kick back in and will attract the CNN crowd for us to bicker with. That’s really what makes social media fun — interacting with opposing viewpoints, not taking turns screaming into the echo chamber.”

If Truth Social is an echo chamber, it’s because the majority of users are like Marina Medvin, refugees of the bigger platforms that exiled them. If the internet is a virtual digital world with neighborhoods, Twitter is a gated community that hopes Truth Social will be the other side of the tracks. The users at Twitter, like liberal elites in lefty cities, want the rabble as far away as possible and will only tiptoe around the undesirables when their needs demand they leave their cloistered homes.

The Twitter HOA dislikes the conservatives who remain. They reduce the scope of conservative influence and create silos within the platform. That is borne out with this author’s experience. I have around 50,000 followers on Twitter and around 2,000 on Truth Social. There is at least 10 times the engagement on Truth Social with a fraction of the followers. Twitter becomes useless to conservatives when the impact is zero because no one sees the content they’re producing. Ruben Jay, owner of the ON AIR podcast, notes, “In the last few years, I have seen my posts on Big Social (Twitter, FB, etc) go from reaching tens of thousands of people to a few dozen people. It all started when I publicly endorsed President Trump.”

Blocking accounts and deplatforming remains Big Social Media’s favorite method of eliminating conservative content. Twitter booted the best conservative meme creators, including @CarpeDonktum and @TheRighttoBearMemes. When they did so, they instantly devalued their platform and also called into question the strength of the government–media orthodoxy. Akin to the king hanging the jester, the current elites have no sense of humor about themselves. Consequently, they give power to those who make fun of them. Truth Social benefits from this mass exodus. The meme-makers keep the place funny and sharply insightful.

Both Twitter and Facebook (now Meta) are losing market value due to missed advertising earnings and the exodus of users. They’ve created a messaging victory for the state and state media, but so far, it’s been a pyrrhic one.

CNN and MSNBC ratings, too, have cratered in a post-Trump world. Will the media companies who killed the golden goose with their poisonous rhetoric and conspiracy theories be able to resist Trump’s platform, Truth Social? Will the “haters and losers” join Truth if only to see what Donald J. Trump says next or, worse, to create fake accounts to demonize users?

@JackWilliams worries about the latter. He says, “This is liberating! However, a part of me thinks that ‘posers’ will be on here digging into all of the users and we will be on ‘their watch list.’ ” Another user, @SonOfLiberty, says, “The key here is if they [Truth Social] can monitor the false flags of leftist trolls using patriotic photos and MAGA to post and comment racist stuff. Basically – Jan 6th in social media form.”

@Mosheelish is more optimistic. He says, “In some way, the biggest gift the corrupt politicians and media gave us was stealing the election. Had it not been for that, Trump would not have founded his own media empire. And if Trump and the rest of us have learned anything over the last 5 years, it’s that the media holds more power than any presidency or political office. Let’s thank the media and political tyrants for creating their own demise.” @llmallary is also optimistic. She says, “In just one day, I’ve actually had a rational, meaningful, respectful exchange with a liberal user. We even managed to find some common ground! This is what Big Tech has been terrified of!”

Truth Social is filled with idealistic users. @TradersLanding shared, “I have a YouTube channel focused on testing trading systems. I am on here because I believe in the decentralization of most things from states’ rights to financial transactions (e.g. cryptocurrencies). The ability of the few to control so many is antithetical to the founding of the beliefs of the United States. If Twitter is King George then @realDonaldTrump is George Washington. Let freedom ring!”

Retired executive and Air Force/Air National Guard retiree @VesperLynd007 says, “I am a wife (40 years), a mother, a grandmother, sister and a veteran. I was born in Massachusetts, joined the Air force at 17 and have been a Conservative my whole adult life. I am loving it so far!”

Truth Social users repeat the phrases “a breath of fresh air” and “it’s like a family!” often. These sentiments recall the halcyon days at the beginning of Twitter where the sense of community and excitement at having direct access to all sorts of people made for addictive use.

Will social media continue to balkanize and fracture political and cultural discourse in the United States as more startups enter the fray? Many media talking heads kvetch that right-wing extremists are creating self-reinforcing communication spheres. These commentators seem obtuse about their own media bubbles. What makes it funnier is that these same people said that anyone who was unhappy with Twitter rules should “go create their own platform.” Now Donald Trump has.

No one but the Truth Social users themselves seems to have considered that a new platform could supplant Twitter or Facebook. Anyone who thinks that’s impossible should remember the fates of Myspace, Friendster, and Google+ (the best social media platform, but like VHS beating Beta, here we are).

It took Twitter three years to work out its “Fail Whales.” Truth Social is less buggy and has more users already than Twitter did at the beginning. New users are eager for a streamlined experience immediately, and so far they’ve mostly had one. When the glitches do happen, they patiently wait for the return of the man who started it all, Donald Trump.

And what does the new media mogul have to say? “Get ready!” says @RealDonaldTrump in his first and only tweet from two weeks ago. “Your favorite President will see you soon!”

Melissa Mackenzie
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Melissa Mackenzie is Publisher of The American Spectator. Melissa commentates for the BBC and has appeared on Fox. Her work has been featured at The Guardian, PJ Media, and was a front page contributor to RedState. Melissa commutes from Houston, Texas to Alexandria, VA. She lives in Houston with her two sons, one daughter, and two diva rescue cats. You can follow Ms. Mackenzie on Twitter: @MelissaTweets.
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