Google’s cold hard truth

Donald Trump’s free-speech-centric Twitter alternative Truth Social has run into financial, legal, and technical issues… if only someone could have seen this coming. 

Driving the news: Google’s Play app store is refusing to offer Truth Social to Android users until it cuts out content that contains violent threats (which happen to violate its policies). 

  • Google walked the walk when it pulled Parler, another social media app, from its store for content moderation issues last year.
  • Right now, Truth Social users can access the site via Apple’s iOS app store (it was once the top free app and boasts a 4.5-star average review) and on desktop. 

Why it matters: Google’s demands are a big ask for an app that sets itself apart by letting you say anything you want. It also strengthens the criticism that some Truth users (and a certain billionaire) already have towards Big Tech, involving the censorship of content. 

In other news, Truth also appears to be seriously short on cash. Executives are leaving the company due to cash flow issues, and the company owes one of its vendors US$1.6 million. 

  • Truth’s planned IPO would have raised needed funds, but it’s been indefinitely paused as the SPAC involved handles a lawsuit and is investigated by the SEC.

Big picture: Truth Social and its struggles are but one example of a broader clash between views about what the internet could, and should, be. 

In Canada: As platforms like Truth ramp up millions of downloads, Canada is rolling out regulations that would force companies to better moderate content in the interest of safety.