From combating Democrats and the liberal media as an anti-Russia hoax House chair, former California Rep. Devin Nunes is now atop former President Donald Trump’s startup social media challenge to leftist Silicon Valley.
“What these companies have been getting away with is something we have never seen in the history of the globe because a lot of these tech tyrants are bigger than what global empires were in history,” Mr. Nunes told me in an interview.
The first item Mr. Nunes wanted to talk about is the same message he had in Washington: Don’t believe “fake news.” In this instance, don’t believe the spurt of negative news articles about the Feb. 21 debut of Truth Social, Mr. Trump’s flagship antidote to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram et al.
The Presidents Day event was not a “full launch,” he says, but a limited opening to early registrars. The rollout provided a chance to work out the bugs for a planned expansion to additional access points, not just the current iPhones and Apple Store. But even with those limits, Mr. Nunes boasts that users are seeing record engagements/interactions — that is “ReTruths.” (A “Truth” is a post; a “ReTruth” is sharing another’s post.)
“Bottom line is it’s the fastest-growing social media company in history,” he told me. “There hasn’t been one that has grown faster.”
Mr. Nunes resigned Jan. 3 from his House seat representing a district of rolling fecund farmland to become chief executive officer of Trump Media and Technology Group and its Truth Social blogging platform.
Mr. Nunes declined to discuss Truth Social user numbers or other metrics. He said he is complying with Security and Exchange Commission regulations for the upcoming merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp. and the plan to go public in the stock market. The Wall Street regulator must approve such mergers.
The Republican’s political legacy prepared him for combat against big tech liberals. As House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chair, he exposed the Christopher Steele dossier as bogus and the FBI as a willing co-conspirator to get Mr. Trump. Washington liberals added him to their enemies’ list, second only to Mr. Trump.
His new executive post makes him a critical leader in a conservative awakening against tech oligarchs. They have taken it among their ruling-class duties to censor the right and train Americans in the do’s and don’ts of expressing themselves.
Conservatives watched as Twitter banished right-leaning activists and their content, while protecting “woke” liberals no matter how inaccurate their tweets. Twitter expelled Mr. Trump over the Jan. 6 Capitol riots by his supporters. Did Twitter ever censor any of the thousands of false tweets affirming the hilariously inaccurate anti-Trump dossier cooked up in Russia and financed by Democrats?
Conservatives say they know Twitter wokes also develop algorithms to curtail their tweets’ distribution in a sinister practice known as “shadow banning.”
The billionaire tech titans teamed up to crush upstart Parler, one of the first challengers to Twitter-dom. Amazon delivered the final blow by shutting off its computer servers, blocking access to the internet.
Conservatives merely complaining about tech stranglehold has given way to a robust counter movement. New right-leaning platforms — microblogs, long-form journalism, news sites, podcasts, online video channels — are springing up across the country. Truth Social has a partnership with Rumble, the right’s answer to Google’s YouTube.
Truth Social’s critical startup move is to insulate the platform from Big Tech by using friendly servers that will keep it online. That web access to sign up on TruthSocial.com should happen in weeks; “Because we’re building this from scratch without using any of the tech tyrants, anyone who can cancel us, we have to go methodically, step by step, to ensure both quality and reliability,” Mr. Nunes says.
“All you have to do is not have algorithms and have an open town square that you don’t censor for political purposes,” he says.
On the streaming of negative press, he says, “A lot of the fake news guys. … They did this on purpose because the only guys who have been out there talking are myself and Donald Trump who have said we’re going to be fully open when we’re ready to be fully open because we’re building all this from scratch.”
The staggered start has resulted in a user waiting list of tens of thousands, which is likely discouraging app downloads. Truth Social debuted No. 1 among free apps from the Apple app store but now is not in the top 200, according to AppFigures.com.
Mr. Nunes is also working to bring Truth Social to Google’s Android operating system, the most used globally for mobile devices.
Mr. Trump has yet to “Truth” on his account, @realDonaldTrump, except for an opening message of, “Get ready! Your favorite President will see you soon!”
“He could do it at any time,” Mr. Nunes said. “From my perspective I would like to have everybody be able to access Truth before he comes on the platform.”
I asked Mr. Nunes if conservative social media can one day compete with dominate Google, Facebook, Twitter and the gang.
“It’s already happening,” he says. “We’re just on the cusp of it, to bring social networking back to the way it is supposed to be …. We’re the town square and we’re going to be the one who lifts all the boats. “
Conservatives are contending that once they join Truth Social they immediately gain more engagements compared with Twitter.
Donald Trump Jr. “Truthed,” “It’s pretty amazing with less than 150,000 followers here my engagement is better than it is on Twitter with over seven million followers. I’m sure that has nothing to do with big tech suppressing conservative voices.”
• Rowan Scarborough is a columnist with the Washington Times.