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Donald Trump. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Donald Trump has been in talks with no-name app vendors as he contemplates partnering with an existing platform to create his own social media network, according to sources familiar with the private discussions.

Driving the news: Among the social networking apps the former president and his digital adviser Dan Scavino have homed in on is a relatively unknown platform called FreeSpace, these sources told Axios.

Screen shots of the FreeSpace Social app tutorial
Screen shot of FreeSpace app from AppTopia
  • It's unclear how this business relationship would work. Trump is famously averse to putting his own money into companies, preferring to license his name and use other people's money to fund his ventures.
  • It's also by no means a done deal. A source briefed on the situation said Trump had not made a final decision on the social network. "It could be any of several companies, with more meetings this week," the source said.
  • Trump senior adviser Jason Miller told Fox News' "#MediaBuzz" on Sunday, "I do think that we're going to see President Trump returning to social media in probably about two or three months here, with his own platform."

Between the lines: It seems surprising that "FreeSpace" caught Trump's attention. It employs touchy-feely positivity language that's the polar opposite of the incendiary and divisive social media persona he cultivated before he was banned from Twitter and Facebook following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

  • "FreeSpace" bills itself as being "backed by science to positively reinforce good habits & make the world a better place."
  • It talks about "FINDING COMMON VALUES and highlighting them, so people become 'addicted' to doing good. FreeSpace encourages the public to share the daily actions & content they believe will add value to their lives and model healthy habits for others to duplicate."
  • The app includes features typical to any modern social network, including an "Activity Wall," which is akin to a news feed, a customizable profile, and "rooms" which are akin to group messaging,

FreeSpace is affiliated with Skylab Apps, a platform for building communities for coaches, trainers, etc., to help connect directly with people. The FreeSpace app bills itself as a "social fusion for free-thinkers, athletes and entrepreneurs."

  • Both FreeSpace and Skylab Apps are run by Jon Willis.
  • Willis also is the CEO of Matchstick Media, a marketing agency based in Arizona, as well as executive vice president of Legacy Sports USA, a sports facility in Arizona.
  • Ads for Matchstick and Legacy Sports USA appear on the site alongside other programmatic ads for things like frozen yogurt, IV therapies and diesel exhaust fluid.

By the numbers: FreeSpace is relatively new and doesn't seem to have many users, so far. The app launched in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store on Feb. 1.

  • So far, its only had about 20,000 downloads across both stores since launch, per AppTopia.
  • The person leading the "Leaderboard" ranking on the app is Mike Magolnick, a digital entrepreneur who claims to work in strategy for FreeSpace and SkyLab.

What they're saying: When asked for comment, Magolnick said, "At this time I have no info to share."

  • FreeSpace did not return a request for comment.

Go deeper

Brazil's health minister tests positive for COVID during UN summit in N.Y.

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga in Brasilia, Brazil, in May. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Queirog has tested positive for COVID-19 while in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), he confirmed Tuesday night.

Why it matters: Hours earlier, Queirog had accompanied Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to the UNGA. The Biden administration expressed concern last week that the gathering of world leaders could become a coronavirus "superspreader event."

Trump sues New York Times and his niece over tax report

Former President Trump hosting a boxing match in Hollywood, Florida on Sept. 11. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump filed a $100 million lawsuit against the New York Times and his niece Mary Trump on Tuesday over the news outlet's 2018 reporting on his tax records, the Daily Beast first reported.

Details: The suit, filed in New York's Dutchess County, alleges NYT journalists "engaged in an insidious plot to obtain confidential and highly-sensitive records" and that they "convinced" Mary Trump to "smuggle records out of her attorney's office and turn them over to The Times."

House passes government funding, debt ceiling bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The House passed a bill on Tuesday to fund the government through early December, along with a measure to raise the debt ceiling through December 2022.

Why it matters: The stopgap measure, which needs to be passed to avoid a government shutdown when funding expires on Sept. 30, faces a difficult journey in the Senate where at least ten Republicans would need to vote in favor.