Former President Donald Trump will helm a social media start-up apparently aimed at supplanting Facebook and Twitter, the new Trump Media & Technology Group announced Wednesday evening.
The move could put the 45th president back in the online arena from which he’s been banned since leaving office Jan. 20. Facebook and Twitter have blocked Mr. Trump’s accounts.
The new venture also said it would offer a subscription video service featuring “non-woke” programming.
In July, Mr. Trump sued Twitter, Facebook and search engine giant Google, which also owns the YouTube video streaming platform, alleging the firms silence conservative speech. On Oct. 7, his attorneys sought a court order to compel Facebook to reinstate his access.
The new firm said its “mission is to create a rival to the liberal media consortium and fight back against the ‘Big Tech’ companies of Silicon Valley, which have used their unilateral power to silence opposing voices in America.”
The announcement stated the firm would launch “Truth Social” in November as a “Beta,” or experimental project with a formal roll-out in the first quarter of 2022. A waiting list is online at www.truthsocial.com, the firm said.
A “Truth Social” app can be pre-ordered on Apple’s App Store, it added.
“I created TRUTH Social and TMTG to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech. We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced. That is unacceptable,” Mr. Trump, who is listed as chairman of the new venture, said in a statement. “TMTG was founded with a mission to give a voice to all. I’m excited to soon begin sharing my thoughts on TRUTH Social and to fight back against Big Tech. Everyone asks me why doesn’t someone stand up to Big Tech? Well, we will be soon!”
TMTG said it would offer “a subscription video-on-demand service” called TMTG+ that “will feature ‘non-woke’ entertainment programming, news, podcasts, and more,” according to the statement.
Scott St. John, a television veteran who was executive producer of “America’s Got Talent” and “Deal or No Deal” will head corporate operations for the video arm, the company said.
To finance the new operation, TMTG said it has entered into a “definitive merger agreement” with Digital World Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: DWAC). The deal will make the Trump venture a public company with “an initial enterprise value of $875 Million,” the firm stated.
Depending on the post-combination performance of the stock, the new company could have “a potential additional earnout of $825 Million in additional shares (at the valuation they are granted) for a cumulative valuation of up to $1.7 Billion,” according to the announcement.
Patrick F. Orlando, Chairman/CEO of DWAC said in the statement, “DWAC currently has $293 Million in trust, assuming minimal redemptions, which can fuel TMTG’s scale-up, including to provide world-class leading technology services to build strong and secure social networks and diverse media offerings. Given the total addressable market and President Trump’s large following, we believe the TMTG opportunity has the potential to create significant shareholder value.”
An inquiry to TMTG’s press office asking whether the acquiring firm is what’s known as a Special Purpose Acquisition Company, or SPAC, was not immediately answered.
SPACs, also known as “blank check” companies can be used to take a firm public without the usual initial public offering process.