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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

Trump calls McConnell a "loser" before hanging up on NPR host

Photos: Saul Loeb, Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump abruptly cut short an interview with NPR on Tuesday after being pressed about his false, baseless claims of election fraud in 2020 and lambasting Republicans who have spoken out against them.

Why it matters: The interview once again highlights the extent to which Trump is willing to turn against members of his own party if they do not back his unsupported claims.

Jan. 6 committee subpoenas tech giants

A mob of Trump supporters breaches the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Photo: Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Jan. 6 select committee on Thursday subpoenaed Alphabet, Meta, Reddit and Twitter for records as part of its investigation of the Capitol insurrection.

Why it matters: The four social media companies have key information related to the spread of misinformation, efforts to overturn the 2020 election and domestic violent extremism, the panel said.

Fed: Rate hikes "will soon be appropriate"

The Federal Reserve's headquarters building. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Federal Reserve officials expect "it will soon be appropriate" to raise the central bank's main target interest rate, setting the stage for a rate hike at its next meeting in mid-March.

Driving the news: In a statement following a two-day meeting published Wednesday afternoon, however, the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee teed up its next move without taking new action.