Donald Trump’s new social media venture, Truth Social, appears set to launch in Apple‘s App Store on Monday, according to posts from an executive on a test version viewed by Reuters, potentially marking the return of the former president to social media on the U.S. Presidents Day holiday, reported by CNBC.
In a series of posts late on Friday, a verified account for the network’s chief product officer, listed as Billy B., answered questions on the app from people invited to use it during its test phase. One user asked him when the app, which has been available this week for beta testers, would be released to the public, according to screenshots viewed by Reuters.
“We’re currently set for release in the Apple App store for Monday, Feb. 21,” the executive responded.
The launch would restore Trump’s presence on social media more than a year after he was banned from Twitter, Facebook and Alphabet‘s YouTube following the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters, after he was accused of posting messages inciting violence.
On Feb. 15 Trump’s eldest son Donald Jr. posted on Twitter a screenshot of his father’s verified @realDonaldTrump Truth Social account with one post, or “truth,” that he uploaded on Feb. 14: “Get Ready! Your favorite President will see you soon!”
Led by former Republican U.S. Representative Devin Nunes, Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), the venture behind Truth Social, will join a growing portfolio of technology companies that are positioning themselves as champions of free speech and hope to draw users who feel their views are suppressed on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. So far none of the companies, which include Twitter competitors Gettr and Parler and video site Rumble, have come close to matching the popularity of their mainstream counterparts.
TMTG is planning to list in New York through a merger with blank-check firm Digital World Acquisition (DWAC), and stands to receive $293 million in cash that DWAC holds in a trust, assuming no DWAC shareholder redeems their shares, TMTG said in an Oct. 21 press release.
Additionally, in December TMTG raised $1 billion committed financing from private investors; that money also will not be available until the DWAC deal closes.
Digital World’s activities have come under scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, according to a regulatory filing, and the deal is likely months away from closing.
In addition to the post disclosing Monday’s launch date, the screenshots seen by Reuters show the app is now at version 1.0, suggesting it has reached a level ready for public release. As late as Wednesday, it was at version 0.9, according to two people with access to that version.
Apple’s App Store listing indicates that Truth Social is expected to be released on Feb. 21, a date that a source familiar with the venture confirmed in January. But in recent weeks Nunes had said publicly that the app would launch by the end of March.
On Friday, Nunes was on the app urging users to follow more accounts, share photos and videos and participate in conversations, in an apparent attempt to drum up activity, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Among Nunes’ posts, he welcomed a new user who appeared to be a Catholic priest and encouraged him to invite more priests to join, according to the person with knowledge of the matter.