Big Tech takes on Truth Social
It wasn't a matter of "if," but "when" and "how" big tech would target Donald Trump's social media platform, Truth Social.
Truth Social was recently barred from the Google Play Store, which is a digital distribution service for applications meant for Android phones.
Currently, there are more than 130 million Android smartphone users in the United States.
On Aug. 19, we notified Truth Social of several violations of standard policies in their current app submission and reiterated that having effective systems for moderating user-generated content is a condition of our terms of service for any app to go live on Google Play.
Trump Media and Technology Group CEO Devin Nunes said the decision on whether the app would be available was "up to the Google Play Store." Nunes had previously called Google a "monopoly."
Google reiterated that Truth Social's violations, and the steps to redress them, have been clearly communicated with the company.
Trump Media pushed back, saying Truth Social was creating a "vibrant, family-friendly environment."
Google says it is up to Truth Social to comply with its rules.
The dispute continues.
Truth Social was founded as a free speech platform, following the coordinated social media ban on President Trump following the occurrences of January 6.
Upon its launch, Truth Social became the most downloaded application on the Apple Store.
Big Tech was always going to find a way to restrict Truth Social's reach.
Big Tech is vehemently opposed to people speaking their minds and effectively questioning the approved talking point from the establishment.
A perfect example is the Hunter Biden laptop story.
In October 2020, the New York Post had carried myriad reports on the shady lucrative business dealings of Hunter Biden, enabled by his father, Joe Biden, when he was vice president.
The laptop also contained photos of drug-addled Hunter in a compromising position with a prostitute. There were messages of Hunter using racist language and videos of him using drugs.
The stories showed Joe Biden as corrupt, nepotistic, and potentially compromised by hostile foreign countries.
During the 2016 presidential elections, Donald Trump and his supporters effectively used social media to counter the narrative of the establishment. The establishment characterized it as disinformation and hate speech.
During the 2020 presidential election, Big Tech didn't allow factual information to hurt the Democrats.
Twitter locked the New York Post's account. Facebook restricted the spread of the story. CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed he acted following a warning from the FBI about "misinformation."
This suppression of vital information was a blatant act of meddling in the 2020 presidential election.
A poll revealed that 16% of Biden voters said they would have voted differently had they known of Hunter's laptop.
So how did Big Tech grow into this monster that interferes in the elections with impunity?
They began like all providers by offering their applications such as Facebook and Twitter for free. People registered, and their reach and popularity grew.
Over the years, they built their ecosystem by eliminating or buying out all competition.
Old social media sites such as Orkut gradually faded away from public memory.
Competitors such as Instagram, the popular photo and video sharing social networking service, and WhatsApp, which is an instant messaging and voice-over-IP service, were acquired by Facebook Inc.
The growth was rapid and vast, such that these social media platforms have become official communication channels for governments worldwide.
In time, they had not just control, but a total monopoly, it was at this point they assumed the role of arbiter and controller of information.
If anyone questioned the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, his message was either blocked, restricted, or labeled as unreliable. At times, the user was deplatformed for being a "serial violator."
However, if anyone overstated the efficacy of the vaccines, his message was promoted.
The world wide web was meant to be a platform that challenged the monopoly of the establishment. It was supposed to be a forum for rebels and dissenters.
It is most unfortunate that Big Tech engaged in total surrender to become allies with the establishment.
Back to Truth Social.
Truth Social is to Big Tech what Trump is to Washington, D.C.
Big Tech has built an ecosystem that comprises echo chambers. If Truth Social is allowed to exist, it blows a gaping hole in this ecosystem, and soon everything implodes.
Both Washington, D.C. and Big Tech realize that one dissenter can destroy their ecosystem, and hence they are going to use all their might to crush the rebellion.
This is merely the beginning of Truth Social's battles. There are a myriad.
Don't be too surprised if the Apple Store follows Google to challenge Truth Social for the violations of standard policies. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that they add clauses to their policies just to restrict Truth Social and block the app from iOS, which is Apple's mobile operating system.
But applications are not the only way that Truth Social can be accessed.
Truth Social can be accessed via the web. Here, too, Big Tech can play their games.
Big Tech can collude with various internet service providers to either restrict or reduce the download speed for Truth Social.
Browsers such as Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari and Microsoft's Edge can reduce the download speed of Truth Social.
This could result in it taking forever for Truth Social to load and users quitting in frustration.
Big Tech can also go after Truth Social's infrastructure.
Big Tech controls not just applications, but also the infrastructure such as servers that host the apps as well as the network infrastructure.
Truth Social wisely chose not to use Amazon servers. This may be the cause of a rocky phase initially, but it will be beneficial for Truth Social's longevity.
Parler, which promised free speech to its users, was banned from using Amazon's servers. This occurred when Trump was banned from social media, and there were rumors that Trump would join Parler.
In the future, Amazon will make attempts to buy out the firms that provide servers to Truth Social.
Let's look at personnel, a great deal of Truth Social's success will also depend on its staff who will both maintain the app and add new features as the app grows.
Big Tech could pledge never to employ any individual who worked for Truth Social. This policy may not be explicitly stated. But blacklisting a company means that it won't always attract the best talent.
When the GOP wins the House and the Senate following the midterms, confronting Big Tech must be a high priority.
They must ensure that Truth Social and other platforms that challenge the Big Tech monopoly are allowed to grow.
It is true that government must never interfere in the functioning of a free market. But when certain parties have a total monopoly over the market owing to the backing of a political party, the government has to intervene and level the playing field.
Image: Screen shot from Real America's Voice via YouTube.