Finding the “Truth” in a Social Media Feud


by Mack Mullinix, Reporter

On April 25, Twitter and Elon Musk began the process of turning the huge social media app into a privately owned business. Musk Tweeted the day after “Truth Social is currently beating Twitter & TikTok on the Apple Store.”  Although that deal is now on hold, it brings to light some questions about Truth Social and Twitter.

Tweet made by Elon Musk shortly after anouncing his plan to purchase the company.

Many who had first read the tweet were filled with complete confusion of what this “Truth Social” is. They may not know that it is  helmed by the most polarizing figure formerly on  Twitter: former President Donald J. Trump.

Trump had pushed himself into the business world of social media after being permanently banned from most social media sites after leaving office. In January 2021, Trump established Trump Media and Technology, leading  to the creation of Truth Social. It is a social media app advertised that it is designed exclusively for free speech. The goal of the app is not only to provide Trump a way to share with supporters, but also to create a site dedicated to free debate.

Some news outlets have suggested that Trump ‘encouraged’ Musk to buy Twitter. Musk has said that he will reinstate Trump when he gains control. Trump has remained adamant that he would remain on Truth Social even if Elon Musk were to reinstate him on Twitter. Trump Truthed, “I appreciate the offer, but I will never go back to Twitter. I love the Truth!”

Tweet by Elon Musk in response to people asking him if Trump would be unbanned.

Musk has stated himself that he has never gotten any ‘encouragement’ from Trump. He tweeted at an article by the New York Post, “This is false. I’ve had no communication directly or indirectly, with Trump.”

Musk has also cited the only reason the site exists is “because Twitter censored free speech. Though Musk has not been afraid to make fun of the site. Including a satarical tweet he made saying the site should be named “Trumpet” instead.

Satirical Tweet by Elon Musk aimed at Truth Social and Donald Trump.

While Truth Social had a rough start, It’s been accelerating recently, mostly due to many Twitter users fleeing Twitter after news first broke out about Musk’s push to take over the company. Forbes has reported that Truth Social has around 2 million active users, paling in comparison to the 300 million users on Twitter. 

Truth Social itself is pretty simple.

The app has two different verification systems. One is through email, and one through phone number. After that, users basically get the standard Twitter experience, with almost all features on Twitter corresponding with Truth Social. Both apps look virtually the same, besides saying Truth’s instead of Tweets.

Twitter is on the left (featuring Elon Musk’s acount), while Truth Social is on the right (featuring Donald Trump’s acount)

However small the differences are (and believe me, the interface is a carbon copy), the apps still vary widely. As soon as I downloaded the app to study its features, I was surprised by a flurry of accounts following me, none of whom I had any relation to.

While one would also assume that the only accounts found on the site are highly conservative QAnon followers, in actuality, one may find many unbiased mainstream news sites. These include the BBC, NPR, and NBC. 

Truth’s basis of not banning for sharing an opinion may also be a great feature to those who like to post controversial statements. Twitter and other social media services have been shown to silence or ban users who push hard on misinformation.  Often misinformation is hard to define.  Truth Social shows no judgement in any statement (unless it breaks the law in some way).

So, does Truth Social hold any ground serving as actual competition against Twitter? Probably not.

Musk promises to begin a widespread overhaul of Twitter if he can get past this feud over the sales terms. He has made claims to waging war against bot accounts, updating the premium Twitter service, and/or establishing the site as a bastion of free speech. Though Twitter is already at the top, it seems all it can go in popularity is up.

Truth by Donald Trump in response to news that he would unbanned from Twitter

Truth Social may have its own problems. As they have recently worked out a deal with Trump that he can post anything to other social media apps six hours after uploading to Truth. This condition may come in bad for Truth depending on Trump’s next move.

Truth still has a chance to entice MAGA followers and people interested in seeing the former President; however, if he starts posting back on Twitter (or any other major site), a clear self destruction of Truth Social would begin. With all that’s left of the normal userbase being the hardcore Trump supporters who fringe on the farthest parts of the right. With Trump returning to Truth Social with daily posts, this seems unlikely at the moment.

The best case scenario for Truth Social’s success would be for Musk to fail with his deal on Twitter. Though I doubt that Truth Social or Trump would want this. As Trump has semonstrated, he cares more for personal than the public success of Truth.