Trump’s Truth Social ‘Free Speech’ Motto Hides Filter Issue – Bloomberg

Founded by Trump after his ouster from Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol, Truth Social has promised to be a place where its users can say whatever they please. When it launched in Apple’s App Store in February, the site joined an increasingly crowded field of “alternative tech” platforms catering to right-wing users, including Gettr, Parler, and Gab.

There’s been a noticeable intensification in violent rhetoric on all these services since the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago search, says Josephine Lukito, an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin. “The FBI raid has increased this need to take action” in users’ minds, she says. “The discourse has ramped up—the level of frustration has ramped up.”

That Truth Social would take a more tolerant view toward speech that mainstream social networks consider beyond the pale is to be expected—that’s essentially why it exists. More surprising is how aggressive it’s become at filtering other kinds of posts. In an Aug. 2 report, Cheyenne Hunt-Majer, a fellow for the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, wrote that she shared a post on Truth Social containing the phrase “abortion is healthcare,” only to find it was rendered essentially invisible on the site, a process sometimes referred to as shadow-banning. Hunt-Majer wrote that the post reappeared after a TikTok video she made about the incident went viral. But another one of her Truth Social posts—this one reading, “If you don’t own a uterus and know everything about women’s health, you have NO right to regulate abortion or birth control”—never showed up on her profile or in her feed.

Trump’s Truth Social ‘Free Speech’ Motto Hides Filter Issue – Bloomberg