According to two people familiar with the investigation, the president’s paranoia stemmed from the lack of a mobile app for his social media app, Truth Social’s troubled launch. Since its launch in February, the app has only been available on Apple devices, excluding Android users, who account for roughly 40% of the US mobile device market.
This has caused Trump to wonder about the product’s status and whether his perceived adversaries at Google seemed to have any plans to reject it. “He keeps listening about how Google and YouTube have it out for him… including on Truth Social,” says one source who has spoken with the twice-impeached former president about the matter. (In some cases since last month, Trump has simply inquired, “What’s up with Google?”)
What did Devin Nunes add in his statement?
TMTG CEO Devin Nunes, a former congressman and vocal Trump supporter, appeared to play into Trump’s suspicions in a statement about the upcoming availability of a Truth Social Android app, implying that Google’s authorization of the app in its Play Store could be in doubt.
“After that, we will launch an Android app… pending approval from Google!” Nunes wrote, adding that Truth Social had been on the verge of making the app available in browsers at the end of May. During a rally in Ohio a week before Nunes’ announcement, Trump hinted at Android availability, telling supporters that “non-iPhone consumers are coming very, very soon” to the platform. To conservative ears, a censorious Big Tech big bad wolf blocking the former president’s app sounds plausible, but there’s one problem: the former president’s suspicions about a Google plot appear to exist entirely in his head.
Truth Social hasn’t been approved by Google
According to an individual familiar with the situation and two Trumpworld publications with knowledge of the situation, Truth Social hasn’t even forwarded an Android app to Google for review for Play Store approval as of Tuesday. A spokesperson for Google declined to comment. Truth Social’s spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment.
According to recent job postings on Truth Social, the Android app is still in development. According to a job posting on the TMTG website, the company is looking for a developer who can help with “bringing a few of our product lines to Android.” Although YouTube, which is part of the Google empire, removed Trump from the platform days after the Capitol uprising, the Play Store’s terms of service are separate from YouTube’s and do not appear to contain any provisions that would prevent a Truth Social Android app due to Trump’s role as chairman.
Nunes stated that the company’s “goal” was to have the app “fully operational” by “the end of March
The absence of an Android app — as well as its current lack of availability in the Google Playstore three months after launch — adds to Trump’s shambolic rollout. In a February appearance on Fox News, Nunes stated that the company’s “goal” was to have the app “fully operational” by “the end of March,” but users, including the former president, continued to voice their dissatisfaction well into May.
Since February, the ex-president has repeatedly called his advisers, pleading with them to tell him “what the fuck is going on” with Truth Social. Trump has bemoaned the negative coverage surrounding the app launch on several occasions, demanding answers as to why his new website isn’t smashing his MAGA-app competitors.
According to two people familiar with the matter, the former president’s eldest child, Donald Trump Jr., was named to take a lead role focused on trying to “fix” what was wrong with the company and app performance in recent weeks. One of these insiders described Trump Jr.’s actions as an emergency “rescue mission.” (A Trump Jr. spokesman turned down an offer to give an opinion on this story.)
Trump’s best effort to save Truth Social
Truth Social’s “soft launch” restricted access to iPhone users who had signed up for a glitchy, puzzling, and lengthy waiting list for accounts, according to MAGA supporters. Truth Social was supposed to be a challenge to the Big Tech social media networks that kicked Trump off their platforms after the Capitol insurgency that the then-president instigated, but after an initial surge of interest, downloads of the app plummeted.
Former President Trump is making a renewed effort to use Truth Social after completely disregarding his account there due to declining interest in the app and Don Jr.’s “rescue mission” to try to turn it around. (According to Securities and Exchange Commission paperwork filed on Monday, Trump is “generally obligated to fulfil any post on social media on Truth Social but may not create the same post on another social media site for 6 hours.”)
Trump said Truth Social is far superior to Twitter
After weeks of silence, the terminally online former president returned to his platform to churn out a stream of “reTruths,” (rebranded retweets), and statements, along with a request that supporters pardon Madison Cawthorn for his “foolish mistakes” as he faced a difficult primary election. Further in his speech, Trump has begun to promote the social media company.
“Have you seen Truth?” he asks. “It’s performing admirably. It’s fresh, it’s popular, and it’s far superior to Twitter. It’s so… it blows Twitter away,” Trump said at an Austin rally on Sunday. “Everyone loves it,” the former president claimed, “especially the engagement.”