Former President Donald Trump launched his new social media platform, Truth Social, this past President’s Day. To say the launch created buzz around the country would be a colossal understatement, but the mainstream media won’t tell you that. The launch—and its aftermath—also show how weary conservatives are with big tech censorship and algorithms that attempt to force groupthink.
Young people like me who grew up with the internet—Millennials and Gen Z—know that when you go to sign up for a social platform, the process should take a maximum of five minutes and then boom, you have a profile. That wasn’t the case for eager conservatives signing up for Truth Social following its release. The app dominated the download list on the Apple app store on launch day—yet this volume sparked a glitch that would manifest into a waitlist of hundreds of thousands of people waiting to create their profile.
I went to create a profile a mere two hours after the launch and sat at 185,767 on the waitlist for three weeks. A less fortunate friend of mine was 494,293. The waitlist hasn’t necessarily created frustration, but rather a bonding moment across alternate social channels in the form of memes and inside jokes amongst those of us waiting for our Truth Social profiles to be activated. It has created comradery in the digital spaces that are hellbent on making sure we feel isolated.
The big question is, will Truth Social be the next great platform that finally takes down the unholy social trinity of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Only time will tell, and my guess is probably not — due to its hyper-political nature. But conservatives should not miss what the waitlist is really showing us.
We aren’t alone.
Hundreds of thousands of people across the nation, conservatives and perhaps others as well, are tired of the mental mind games and manipulation on existing social platforms. We are tired of the censorship. And we are desperately looking for an alternative to the big tech oligarchs that have taken our business and voices for granted.
That’s why we at the Texas Public Policy Foundation filed an amicus brief in a big tech censorship case.
“Social media platforms publicly declare dedication to free speech and equality but opaquely censor, shadow-ban, and de-boost online discourse in a way that perpetuates existing power structures, thereby jeopardizing individual liberties,” the brief said. “These nubilous practices expose vulnerable groups with less political clout to online and offline abuses like online silencing, doxing and even real-world violence.”
Free speech is not dead. Far from it. In fact, as a young conservative social media professional with every reason to be skeptical, I feel more encouraged than ever by the waitlist. People are waking up. Americans are understanding better than ever what is at stake if we continue to allow Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to control what is said and heard by the masses.
What’s left now is to see who is innovative enough to finally deliver the blow that will topple the dictatorship of Silicon Valley—and to be ready when they do.