Trump faces crucial decision on future of Truth Social
Donald Trump (Photo by Saul Loeb for AFP)

As he approaches the one-year anniversary of the launch of Truth Social, former president Donald Trump is facing a decision about the future of the struggling social media platform.

According to a report in Newsweek, Trump's exclusivity agreement with Truth Social is up for renewal in June, a renewal decision that takes on increased importance now that he is being welcomed back to Twitter by new owner Elon Musk. Meta -- formerly Facebook -- is also opening the door to Trump's return after a two-year ban.

As it stands now, Trump can post on alternative platforms to Truth Social under certain limited conditions but "....may not make the same post on another social media site for 6 hours," according to an SEC filing.

While the former president has 4.9 million followers on Truth Social, the struggling platform has a minuscule overall reach compared to Meta and Twitter, and that is hampering Trump's ability to make himself the center of attention as he runs for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.

A decision to not renew his exclusivity deal on the platform where he is the centerpiece could also hit him in the wallet, according to an expert on social media.

According to Joshua Tucker, director of NYU's Center for Social Media and Politics, "Truth Social is the social media platform you can use to get access to Donald Trump. So if he does go back to Twitter and Facebook, that is probably going to hurt Truth Social, and he's going to take a financial hit."

However, he notes, Trump does need the other platforms to help finance his third run for office.

"Trump's ability to fundraise is going to be a real important signal about his viability within the Republican primary," Tucker elaborated. "And from that perspective, getting back on Facebook is vital to recreate the magic of the old campaigns where he brought in tons and tons of money from small donors that could play an important role in this kind of signaling development."

According to Alexandra Cirone, assistant professor of government at Cornell University, the former president's future in politics depends on what he decides.

"Truth Social is a failing company, whose competitive advantage is exclusive access to Trump. Trump returning to Facebook would damage Truth Social even further, but approaching a 2024 presidential run, abandoning his platform would be worth it," she explained.

She added, "Trump's die-hard MAGA supporters aren't sufficient to get him elected, especially if the field includes popular politicians like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. He will need the reach of social media to win."

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