In a twist that could be called ironic, depending on one’s views and expectations of Truth Social, the social media platform launched by former President Donald Trump and styled as a free-speech alternative to Twitter has apparently been booting its users for posting details about the ongoing January 6 hearings, according to multiple former members.
Last week, at least three users publicly announced that they’d been tossed from the Truth after they’d separately created posts on the fledgling platform which discussed details of the January 6th Committee hearings; the long-awaited hearings opened in Washington, D.C. on Thursday with explosive testimony from injured Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards and continued on Monday. The purportedly banned Truth Social users quickly took to Twitter to inform their followers of their unceremonious online ejection.
“My Truth Social account was just permanently suspended for talking about the January 6th Committee hearings,” Travis Allen, whose bio states he’s a “cyber hooligan” and information security analyst, tweeted late on Thursday. “So much for ‘free speech.’ This is censorship!”
Allen’s tweet was followed on Friday by a second announcement of a sudden Truth Social ban following a post on the hearings, this time from Jack Cocchiarellz. The podcast host, who refers to himself as a Gen Z activist and Democratic digital strategist in his Twitter bio, wrote: “I was suspended from Truth Social for posting about the January 6th hearing last night. Donald Trump is scared of free speech.”
Also on Friday, a third user going by the name Joseph on Twitter posted: “Just put out my first post on Truth social and they deleted it. Real freedom of speech champs there.” He later said he was posting “a video of Ivanka” to see if that post would be deleted as well.
None of these three Twitter users have indicated precisely what it was that they posted on Truth Social to supposedly get them banned or to see their post removed so quickly. Whether or not these users were, in fact, banned or saw a post deleted from the platform has not been confirmed by LAMag as of Monday. We also did not hear back after reaching out to all three via Twitter. An email sent to Trump Media & Technology Group seeking comment was not immediately returned.
For the sake of thorough reporting, LAMag created multiple posts on Truth Social on Monday, mentioning the January 6 hearings, news about the latest hot water where Rudy Giuliani has found himself, a Bill Barr item, and for the sake of going meta, a story about a federal probe into Trump’s social media deal. After a few hours, the account remains active and in good standing.
Recall that Truth Social was created after Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter (and Facebook, too), which was a sort of punishment against the sitting president from both platforms following the deadly January 6th insurrection; that day, Trump had summoned a disgruntled crowd of MAGA CHUDs to The Ellipse then riled them into a frenzy with an incendiary speech full of his ongoing false claims of election fraud. In the aftermath of what followed, miffed by having his largest online microphone yanked away, Trump announced he’d create his own social platform where “truth” can be told. This was a rare promise on which he actually followed through and Truth Social was launched to little fanfare but many technical meltdowns in February.
Now, if these users were banned for the reasons they claim, that decision by Truth Social’s moderators seems to be in direct opposition to the platform’s mission. From its homepage: “Truth Social is America’s ‘Big Tent’ social media platform that encourages an open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating on the basis of political ideology.”
Or maybe not? Eagle-eyed social media users noted back in October when Truth Social was being readied for launch that a close reading of their terms and conditions—which presumably everyone undertook upon opening their accounts—showed that “prohibited activities” in the free-speech alternative platform included that users not “disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the site.”
The version of the T&C referred to back in October no longer appears on Truth Social. However, some of the language in the updated Terms of Service—which feels a little snowflakey—indicates that, perhaps, in the terms unilaterally laid out by Trump’s platform, these users may have been in violation of the TOS. As outlined, users may not, “harass, , [sic] intimidate, or threaten any of our employees or agents engaged in providing any portion of the Service to you;” users must also agree that interactive content they post is “not false, inaccurate, or misleading” or “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, violent, harassing, libelous, slanderous, or otherwise objectionable.”
Until we know what these three users posted on Truth Social and are claiming led to their banishments, we won’t know if their posts were harassing toward Trump or anyone else in the Truth Social family or if it was intimidating for the former president and his allies to view. It’s apparent that he and perhaps the Truth Social team likely see almost everything laid out by the January 6th Committee as false, though. So, if these are the terms for users, then their alternative facts trump all others.
We have the right, in our sole and absolute discretion, (1) to edit, redact, or otherwise change any Contributions; (2) to re-categorize any Contributions to place them in more appropriate locations on the Site; and (3) to pre-screen or delete any Contributions at any time and for any reason, without notice. We have no obligation to monitor your Contributions.
It seems that all Truth Social users, whether they are Trump fans or not, may need to anticipate a ban, too. A clause stating that good standing on the platform requires that users’ “contributions do not violate any applicable law, regulation, or rule” is also included in the Truth Social’s Terms of Service. “Rules,” whatever they may be on any given day, tend to change quickly in Trumpland. But they always favor the Donald.
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