What's Allowed on Trump's New 'TRUTH' Social Media Platform—And What Isn't

Asia's Tech News Daily

What's Allowed on Trump's New 'TRUTH' Social Media Platform—And What Isn't
© Brandon Bell—Getty Images Former U.S. President Donald Trump makes an entrance at the Rally To Protect Our Elections conference in Phoenix, Arizona on July 24, 2021.

In the wake of former President Donald Trump announcing plans Wednesday to launch a new social media platform called “TRUTH Social,” the site’s terms of service quickly came under scrutiny.

Despite advertising itself as a platform that will “give a voice to all,” according to a press release, TRUTH Social’s terms of service state that users may not “disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the Site.”

In other words, any user who criticizes Trump or the site can be kicked off the platform. TRUTH Social did not immediately respond to TIME’s request for comment clarifying this clause.

In a statement included in the press release, Trump said that he created TRUTH Social and its parent company, Trump Media & Technology Group, to “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech.”

Having been permanently banned from Twitter and suspended from Facebook for at least two years following the deadly January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, reports have swirled for months that Trump intended to start his own social network. “We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced,” he said in his Wednesday statement.

But while portraying itself as a refuge for free speech and the “first major rival to ‘Big Tech,’” TRUTH Social’s terms of service make it clear that the platform not only intends to moderate content—just as Twitter and Facebook do—but reserves the right to remove users for any reason it deems necessary. The terms go on to say that if TRUTH Social decides to terminate or suspend your account, the platform may also sue you—something that Twitter and Facebook’s terms don’t say.

“In addition to terminating or suspending your account, we reserve the right to take appropriate legal action, including without limitation pursuing civil, criminal, and injunctive redress,” TRUTH Social’s terms state.

The terms also prohibit users from using the site to advertise or offer to sell goods and services, engage in unauthorized framing of or linking to the site, trick, defraud or mislead the site and other users, and attempt to impersonate another user or person or use the username of another user.

Maybe most notably, the site’s list of prohibited activities includes the “excessive use of capital letters,” an idiosyncrasy that Trump became known for on Twitter and that no other major social network specifically bans. TRUTH Social’s terms also contain some sections written in all-caps.

Additionally, as reported by the Washington Post, TRUTH Social’s terms of service appear to indicate that the platform is hoping to lean on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields digital platforms from lawsuits over content posted by their users, in order to protect itself from legal liability.

“We are not responsible for any Third-Party Websites accessed through the Site or any Third-Party Content posted on, available through, or installed from the Site, including the content, accuracy, offensiveness, opinions [or] reliability,” the terms state.

During his presidency, Trump staunchly criticized Section 230, calling it a “very dangerous and unfair” law and saying it should be “completely terminated.”

The TRUTH Social app will be open to invitees in November and to the public in the first quarter of 2022, the release said. However, mere hours after the Wednesday announcement was made, hackers claiming affiliation with the group Anonymous were reportedly able to gain access to a pre-release version of TRUTH Social and create fake accounts for Trump and his former aide Steve Bannon. The beta testing site was then taken offline.

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