Trump’s free speech app Truth Social is censoring content and kicking off users

Nearly 500,000 people are on the app’s waitlist.

Dado Ruvic / reuters

Former President Trump’s social media platform Truth Social, which launched only two days ago, is struggling with technical glitches and onboarding new users in the early stages of its rollout. The site, which billed itself as a sort of free speech alternative to Twitter with more lax content moderation policies, has already booted a few users off of its platform. Other users are struggling to even access the platform, which now has nearly half a million people on its waitlist.

User Matt Ortega was rejected from Truth Social on the basis of his username, @DevineNunesCow, reported Mashable. A parody Twitter account of the same name poked fun at former Rep. Devin Nunes, who is currently the CEO of Truth Social’s parent company.

A few users have pointed out that Truth Social’s moderation policy is significantly more strict than that of Twitter, despite its claim to be a refuge from Big Tech’s censorship. Unlike Twitter, Truth Social users can get suspended or booted from the platform altogether for posting content that moderators consider to be false, defamatory or misleading. While Twitter has had broad bans in the past on Covid-19 and election misinformation, it regularly allows other types of misinformation to fly by. Truth Social users also can get banned for posting content that moderators deem to be “libelous, slanderous, or otherwise objectionable”. Twitter tends to be selective in how it handles disputes between users, unless it involves targeted harassment campaigns.

Still, it’s unlikely Truth Social will be able to enforce such a strict moderation policy should it continue to grow in scale. The platform is relying on a combination of volunteer moderators, user reports and bots to handle content removal.

New and prospective users are also running into technical glitches while attempting to sign-up on the app, which is only available on iOS. The platform faced a 13-hour service outage just hours after its Sunday evening debut due to a flood of new users. It is now rate-limiting the number of new accounts which can be registered on the site. A waitlist to join the app, at the time of publishing, is more than 500,000 people long.

The app currently has a 4.1 star average user rating on Apple’s App Store, though a number of 5-star reviewers noted they hadn’t been able to sign up on the app yet. One reviewer who rated the app five stars wrote that they had yet to receive an email confirmation from Truth Social that hadn’t expired: "Every time I try to create an account, I don’t receive the email to confirm my email address. No, it’s not in junk mail either. One time I received the email many hours later and it was already expired. I keep trying and will continue to keep trying. 5 stars because I think someone is playing games and the review doesn’t matter because I haven’t even been able to set up an account yet. Just trying to resolve an issue.”

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