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Trump Media & Technology Group Launches Truth Social

What’s happening?

This week, former US President Donald Trump launched Truth Social, a new social media platform that became the top free app in Apple’s App Store on Monday.

The launch comes over a year after then-President Trump was banned from mainstream networks including Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. These networks suspended Trump’s accounts permanently to avoid inciting further violence after the January 6th attack on Capitol Hill.  

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Truth Social aims to challenge this type of content moderation on mainstream networks, which some users consider a form of censorship.

The new site describes itself as a “‘Big Tent’ social-media platform that encourages an open, free and honest global conversation without discriminating against political ideology.” This description falls in line with a handful of alternative social networks—like Parler, MeWe, and Gab—marked by free speech principles and permissive content policies.

Truth Social is a microblogging site that functions similarly to Twitter. According to The Washington Post, the site’s code is heavily based on Mastodon, which offers open-source software to build social networking sites. 

While onboarding its 300,000-person waitlist, the site faced technical glitches and a 13-hour outage. Despite the rocky start, Truth Social claims it will be fully operational in the United States by the end of March.

These early challenges are raising concerns for industry researchers, who suspect that the platform will not be equipped to handle future security issues—like moderating dangerous content or preventing cyber attacks. 

What’s the impact?

Content on free-speech alternatives to mainstream social media is often harmless. But on similar platforms, like Gab and Parler, some content has incited violence, spread misinformation, and caused public safety risks. 

Some threats that have been linked to similar social networks include:

  • Violent planning and leakage. The Capitol Hill insurrection was planned openly on alternative social platforms prior to January 6, 2021. According to research from The Violence Project, social media is involved in almost one of four mass shooting events. This often manifests in expressions of harmful intent known by threat assessment researchers as “leakage.”
  • Misinformation and disinformation. Misleading content often originates and spreads on less-regulated social networks. While disinformation can reach a larger audience on mainstream platforms, alternative social networks are valuable for early detection.

Platforms must adhere to guidelines to survive on Google and Apple app stores. However, concerns about Truth Social’s ability to keep dangerous content in check could pose security risks down the road.

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How can OSINT help?

Security and intelligence teams can use publicly-available social media content to address public safety risks linked to alternative networks. For example, monitoring sites like Truth Social can help analysts monitor emerging disinformation narratives and find early warning signs for real-world security risks.

Specialized OSINT software helps intelligence teams quickly and easily gather public social media data, including data from smaller, more alternative networks. This is valuable for intelligence analysts, who lack the time and resources to navigate these sources manually.

Connect with us to learn more about how to gather alternative social data not commonly available through commercial OSINT software.

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