According to a report from the New York Times, Donald Trump's Truth Social media platform may find that it has to struggle for eyes as it enters a crowded market of conservative social media websites attempting to compete with Twitter.
The Times' Matthew Goldstein and Ryan Mac report that the internet is already host to seven separate and distinct platforms looking to capture right-wing enthusiasts who have left Twitter due to restrictive posting rules or because Donald Trump was banned well over a year ago.
The report notes, "Gettr, a right-wing alternative to Twitter founded last year by a former adviser to Mr. Trump, bills itself as a haven from censorship. That’s similar to Parler — essentially another Twitter clone backed by Rebekah Mercer, a big donor to the Republican Party. MeWe and CloutHub are similar to Facebook, but with the pitch that they promote speech without restraint," before noting that Truth Social is lagging going live "by a regulatory investigation into a proposed merger of its parent company, the Trump Media & Technology Group, with a publicly-traded blank-check company."
When it does launch, according to the report, it will find a market that is already proving to be "wobbly" when it comes to long-term success.
According to one analyst, the market for strictly right-wing political chit-chat has built-in limitations, one being a small slice of the overall market split between multiple platforms and another by how extreme the sites become.
“There is an audience and a market, but it is not huge,” explained University of North Carolina journalism and media professor Shannon McGregor, before adding, "Most people don’t want a version of the internet where anything goes.”
"Most alt-tech start-ups are chasing the same pool of users, many of whom might spend just a fraction of their social media time on politically partisan causes," the report states. "Also, right-wing pundits who draw big audiences already have large, well-established online fan bases on mainstream social media, making them unlikely to completely switch to a new platform unless they’ve been iced out."
Mark Weinstein, the founder of WeMe, said Trump's website -- along with other similar conservative havens -- are "echo chambers" that will keep them from growing.
"The problem with Truth Social, Gettr and Parler is these are Twitter competitors and they are echo chambers for a narrow political spectrum,” Weinstein explained. “Echo chambers don’t have broad appeal.”
The report also notes Trump -- and his Truth Social pronouncements -- may take center stage with all other discourse shunted to the side with John Matze, previously one of the founders and chief executive at Parler, suggesting keeping subscribers, or expanding their numbers, may be a challenge.
With Trump as its main poster, it was unclear if Truth Social would grow past subscribers who sign simply to read the former president’s missives, Mr. Matze said, telling the Times, "Trump is building a community that will fight for something or whatever he stands for that day. This is not social media for friends and family to share pictures.”
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