Trump's 'free speech' app charges users a fee that goes to the NRSC
(L-R) Melania Trump, Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump, and Ivanka Trump attend an official ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Trump International Hotel in Washington U.S., October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Many tech programs, from social media to browsers to business networking apps, are free to use — even if they try to entice users into paying for a premium account with premium features. But one platform that may not be free, according to The Focus, is former President Donald Trump’s new social media platform Truth Social.

Right-wing media have been hyping Truth Social as a MAGA alternative to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — one that, they insist, will be fair to MAGA Republicans, unlike those other platforms. Truth Social, according to The Guardian, is scheduled to go live on Monday, February 21.

The Focus’ Bruno Cooke reports, “Truth Social doesn’t currently appear on the Apple Store or Google Play Store, although former U.S. President Donald Trump appears to be active on a beta version of the app…. Ahead of its launch, those tempted to join the Truth Social app would do well to know (that) username reservation seems to cost money in the form of a donation, although joining the wait-list is free.”

Cooke goes on to describe what the registration process is like with Truth Social. Users, Cooke reports, are “required to enter your first and last names, an e-mail address and a mobile phone number.”

“The mobile number is required, although the accompanying text includes the sentence ‘if you would prefer to donate online without providing your phone number, click here,’ with a link to a similar webpage asking for donations,” Cooke explains. “The question is: why redirect people to a donation page as an alternative to providing a phone number? The answer appears to be a donation is required to join the Truth Social app.”

Cooke adds, “After submitting a valid name, e-mail address and phone number, the webpage redirects you to the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s (NRSC’s) WinRed page to reserve your username…. Truth Social allows users to join the app waiting list for free, but it doesn’t let you reserve a username. To do that, you have to make a donation to the NRSC.”

Cooke reports that although the “exact figure you need to pay to gain access to the app isn’t clear,” reporting in the Daily Dot “suggests it is $35.”

“However,” Cooke writes, “The Daily Dot also appears to have managed to reserve a username for as little as $1.”

The Truth Social platform will be the first product of Trump’s new tech company, Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), which is separate from the Trump Organization, which he took over in the early 1970s. According to The Guardian, TMTG merged with Digital World Acquisition Corp. “at a valuation of $875 million” in October 2021.

“If Truth Social does cost money to sign up when it finally launches this month,” Cooke notes, “it would be one of a small number of social media apps to do so. Most are free to join and make their money from advertisers.”