Truth Social has been out for months, but Google still won’t let Trump supporters download their favorite former president’s app. In the end, the business admitted that Truth has not developed a content filtering strategy that the software giant is happy with.
First reported by Axios, Google has denied Truth Social’s distribution on the Google Play Store because it does not adequately monitor user-posted content, particularly that which deals with violence.
A Google Representative Confirmed This by An Email:
Having adequate procedures for regulating user-generated content is a condition of our terms of service for any app to go live on Google Play, and on August 19 we notified Truth Social of many violations of our regulations in their current app submission and reemphasized this point.
Truth Social responded to our input last week, saying, “We have received your comments and suggestions and have shared them with the appropriate teams to implement your suggestions.”
While the management of Truth Social’s parent company, Trump Media and Technology Group, disagrees.
On the August 26 episode of the Real America’s Voice podcast, former congressman and organization CEO Devin Nunes said that Google has yet to approve the app, but that “they may approve it tomorrow and it would be… ready for preorder.” We put this together piece by piece to ensure we wouldn’t be canceled, he continued.
According to Google, Nunes exaggerated the extent to which employees at the company were discussing the app, and the app has yet to comply with Google’s regulations prohibiting content including physical threats and speech that incites violence.
According to Axios’s anonymous source familiar with the subject, Google is worried about comments like “Someone acknowledges this nation deserves to be nuked since it’s demonic.”
To be fair, the software doesn’t exactly prevent far-right followers from listening to their dear leader’s siren call. The internet giant does not impose any barriers to app download outside of its own platforms.
However, in far-right communities, the boundary between “violence” and “politics” can be blurry at times.
Scholars have already established that QAnon adherents abound on Truth Social and that they are being aggressively platformed by key Republican political actors and even former President Donald Trump. Researchers claim that Trump has “retruthed” posts advocating for civil war in the United States.
However, since February of this year, Truth Social has been operating freely in the Apple Store without any interference. On the day of its release, it immediately became the most popular social media app.
For months, the app lagged behind many others; however, this month, after the FBI began searching Trump’s home and Mar-a-Lago resort, people began flocking to the app in droves.
Apps must include “A technique for filtering problematic information from being added to the app,” as stated in Apple’s guidelines for user-generated content. It is possible to “delete without notice” any software that is found to be in violation of these terms.
Apple has not yet responded to Gizmodo’s request for comment on the criteria it employs to decide whether or not Truth Social has violated its guidelines.
It has been difficult for far-right apps to gain approval from the main app stores. For instance, Parler has been removed from the iOS and Android app stores of Google and Apple. Despite Apple’s initial criticism, Parler has been approved and is now available for download following “months of productive communication with Apple.”
The “sensitive content” banner appears above some postings on Truth Social that may not be “appropriate for all audiences,” however it does not display above all content that links to apparent demands for violence, as evidenced by the many posts Trump has reposted.
Though the app’s creators stressed that their systems do not block anything “political,” it is true that Truth Social employs a censoring tool called Hive, which Nunes has previously said was designed to keep Truth “family-friendly,” which includes porn, violence, hate speech, and bullying.
It’s a public secret that the site bans some users on occasion, but how it decides what kind of language is unacceptable is unclear. Reports have surfaced of Twitter users being blocked from the social media site for discussing the January 6 hearings.