Updated Oct 21, 2021 - Technology

Trump says he plans to launch new social media network in 2022

A person checking the app store on a smartphone for "Truth Social", with a photo of ex-president Trump on a computer screen in the background, in Los Angeles, October 20

Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump on Wednesday announced plans to launch a social media network called "Truth Social," and said that it would go public via a SPAC.

Why it matters: Most ex-presidents are focused on their legacies, by creating presidential libraries or engaging in philanthropic endeavors. Trump, however, remains consumed by social media.

Between the lines: Details, such as who will be company CEO, are scarce.

  • The SPAC is led by Patrick Orlando, who has raised several SPACs but has yet to successfully use one to take a company public. He did have one deal signed, with a company called Giga Energy, but it was called off before being consummated.
  • Trump's team initially told Axios that the SPAC had yet to file an 8-K detailing merger details. Such paperwork is necessary for any deal to proceed. A spokesperson for the SPAC later confirmed that it has been filed, apparently after hours, which means it should become available early Thursday morning on the SEC.gov website.
  • The SPAC has $293 million in assets, but that amount could be reduced if investors dislike the deal and choose to redeem their units.

Details: The holding company for the app is called Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG).

  • It plans to launch a subscription streaming service called TMTG+. This is the one area in which there is an exec named: Scott St. John, former executive producer of both “Deal or No Deal’ and “America’s Got Talent."
  • A 22-page pitch deck looks very familiar, and in at least one case identical, to a pitch-deck Axios reported on earlier this year.

Of note: The group says its mission is "to create a rival to the liberal media consortium and fight back against the 'Big Tech' companies of Silicon Valley, which have used their unilateral power to silence opposing voices in America."

  • Social media censorship has become one of his biggest talking points, even before mainstream social apps banned Trump following the Capital insurrection.
  • The company says that Truth Social plans to begin its beta launch for invited guests in November and that a nationwide rollout is expected in the first quarter of 2022. 

Be smart: Don't pay attention to the potential $1.7 billion valuation listed in the press release. That figure is based on unspecified price increases to a stock that hasn't even successfully listed yet.

The big picture: Trump has been trying to build an alternative social media network for many months.

  • In July, Jason Miller, a former aide and close adviser to Trump launched a new social app called “Gettr." It launched without Trump's participation after the two parties couldn't come to a deal.
  • “Congratulations to President Trump for re-entering the social media fray!" Miller said in a statement. "Now Facebook and Twitter will lose even more market share."
  • In March, Axios reported that Trump's team had been in contact with FreeSpace, a small and nascent social app to build its own social network. It's unclear what happened to those talks.

Bottom line: There are not enough details to suggest that this deal has much legitimacy.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from the SPAC spokesperson.

Go deeper