Donald Trump's TRUTH Social Hints at Timeline of 2024 Run

Former President Donald Trump unveiled his new social media platform on Wednesday after longstanding criticism of major sites including Facebook and Twitter.

Trump is banned from Twitter and suspended from Facebook for two years—bans handed down following the deadly Capitol riot on January 6—and has described his new platform, called TRUTH Social, as a way to "stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech."

The former president was an avid user of social media before his suspensions and used Twitter in particular to communicate with supporters. He has also repeatedly hinted that he'll run for the White House again in 2024.

A TRUTH Social beta will be launched in November ahead of a rollout in the first quarter of next year—a few months before the critical 2022 midterm elections. A formal campaign announcement could come after the site is up and running.

Newsweek asked experts if TRUTH Social could give any indications about Trump's timeline for a potential third run at the Oval Office and if other factors were at play in his latest venture.

"It's no secret that Trump is still stewing over his Twitter ban, and it's hardly a surprise that he would dive head first into creating his own social media platform," said Thomas Gift, founding director of University College London's Centre on U.S. Politics.

"For Trump, it's an opportunity to 'stick it' to big tech, to give MAGA supporters unfiltered access to his thoughts, and to recreate the kind of megaphone that made him successful in 2016," he told Newsweek.

"Although it's likely the launch of TRUTH Social is another tell that Trump intends to run in 2024—and may even give some insight into his planned timeline—there's still every reason to think Trump is in no rush to jump into the fray.

"The longer Trump waits to declare, the more suspense he can generate around his presidential bid—and the more he can freeze out other would-be GOP contenders," Gift said.

Soliciting Donations

Paul Quirk, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia, told Newsweek that the former president had reasons for creating a social media site other than a presidential bid.

"Trump has several reasons for trying to create a social media platform. He hopes it will make money directly," Quirk said.

"He needs a way to keep in touch with his base and remain a force in the Republican Party. And he'll use it to solicit donations for whatever purpose he chooses—including to help cover his personal expenses. He would want to create this company whether he intended to run for president again or not. The surprise is that it took him so long after the bans from Twitter and Facebook."

"Running for president or not won't be an easy call for Trump. He may have noticed that about a third of Republican voters don't even want him to remain a major figure in the Republican Party," Quirk said

A Pew Research Center survey published on October 6 showed that 32 percent of Republicans believed Trump should not remain a national political figure, while 67 percent said he should.

Testing the Waters

Mark Shanahan, an associate professor at the Department of Politics and International Relations at Reading University and co-editor of The Trump Presidency: From Campaign Trail to World Stage, told Newsweek launching TRUTH Social had already had the desired effect for Trump.

"Trump has been quiet recently: too quiet for his liking and far too far from the forefront of public consciousness for him to feel in any way relevant to the upcoming midterm and presidential races," Shanahan said.

"And while TRUTH Social is no more than a registration page at present, it has already blasted him back onto the news agenda, garnering far more attention than anyone else's digital start-up might expect.

"With a soft launch planned in November and a full rollout in Q1 next year, it feels like an excellent way for POTUS 45 to test the waters to see the level of appeal he still holds among Republican voters and whether he can still extend that appeal into the independents and even the soft-center Democrats he needs if a 2024 campaign is to have any chance of success," he said.

The Small Print

"But one press release does not a Twitter-beating platform make," Shanahan warned.

"In his favor, the proposed app looks to be a mix of the Trump name and someone else's money—always a positive for Trump—and seems to have substantial financial backing. But there must be a question over whether the platform will be ready in time to take anything other than the tiniest slice of the market dominated by the likes of Twitter and Facebook, while there may be barriers to launch if the likes of the Apple and Google stores choose not to list the app.

"And will users flock to a clearly politicized vehicle—much closer to Gab or Parler than Twitter, for instance—where the small print already tells users that debate critical of Trump won't be tolerated and where they're likely to be bombarded by slews of overtly right-leaning advertising?" Shanahan asked.

"Some, of course, will lap this up, but likely only a tiny fraction of the 38 million who followed the former president on Twitter," he said.

"This will be niche, and while the major players continue to deny him his social media megaphone, Trump will be denied his major campaign tool: the ability to use the main social media platforms to make him the story, day in and day out."

Trump Attends a Rally in Iowa
Former President Donald Trump arrives for a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on October 09, 2021 in Des Moines, Iowa. Trump unveiled his new social media platform, TRUTH Social on Wednesday. Scott Olson/Getty Images