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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

Updated 16 mins ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."

UN warns of "catastrophic" climate change failure without more emissions cuts

UN Secretary-General António Guterres at a news conference. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

A United Nations report released Friday warned that the planet will likely warm by more than 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century unless governments take extra steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Why it matters: The report, released just months ahead of November's UN Climate Summit, highlights the growing pressure on global leaders to crack down on emissions to avert the worst effects of climate change.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Pentagon approves request for 100 National Guard troops for "Justice for J6" rally

Security fencing has been reinstalled around the Capitol. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has approved a request from Capitol Police to provide 100 D.C. National Guard troops in case law enforcement requires additional support at Saturday's "Justice for J6" rally at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Security preparations have ramped up ahead of the pro-Trump demonstration, where hundreds of protesters sympathetic to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack are expected to gather.