Truth Social Case Study, Part 1 Podcast Transcript
The Bright Team
The Bright Team • Dec 05

Truth Social Case Study, Part 1 Podcast Transcript

Breaking the Feed, Social Media: Beyond the Headlines

We take a closer look at one of the newer niche socials: Truth Social.

Taryn Ward  Hi. I'm Taryn Ward,

Steven Jones  and I'm Steven Jones,

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TW.  and this is Breaking the Feed, Social Media: Beyond the Headlines. 

SJ.  We're taking a closer look at the core issues around social media, including the rise and fall of social media empires, to better understand the role social media plays in our everyday lives and society.

TW.  Last time, we looked at niche; subject, audience, and function social app trends, and over the next two episodes, we'll look specifically at Truth Social as a sort of case study on niche audience social networks. If you missed the previous episode, these niche apps take one specific element, whether that means one subject, like gaming or travelling, or one specific audience by age, demographic, or viewpoint, or one single function, like sharing one photo per day and building an audience around that.

SJ.  In some ways, this niche phase is just that: a stepping stone towards becoming something that has broader appeal. But in other cases, the experience is built to do one thing or to do several things, but for one specific audience. 

TW.  We've discussed Truth Social, too, in a previous episode that looked at potential new Twitters and Twitter alternatives. But if you miss that episode, here's a quick rundown: Truth's social background, founded in October of 2021 by former US President Donald Trump after he built huge audiences and then was banned from Facebook and Twitter. It's always helpful to think about what social media networks say about themselves. So, what does Truth Social say about itself? They describe themselves as "America's Big Tent social media platform that encourages an open, free and honest global conversation without discriminating on the basis of political ideology". Phew, it's a lot of a lot of words, it's not entirely clear what they mean, or whether they mean them. There are some bits in there that are definitely interesting. But there's actually little other information about what Truth Social is on the actual website.

SJ.  You know, it may be it's just me, because I'm British, but whenever I see the big tent written anywhere, it always makes me think that's probably a lie. The last time I think I heard big tent used in the British context was Theresa May, saying that she wanted to create the, you know, the big tent Tory party, where everybody was feeling included. Only that wasn't really what she meant, and it's certainly not what she did. So, it just makes me very sceptical, and that is a bit of a word salad, and if you are a sceptical sort of person like me, then you wonder whether they really mean about discriminating on the basis of political ideology. Or do they mean we don't mind what crazy right-wing things you say? provided they're crazy right-wing things are not crazy left-wing things?

TW.  I think those are all fair questions. So, let's get into it,  let's start with the actual functionality, always, always good place to start. So, the social app itself is a fairly standard offering, you create an account with an email address and a phone number, you agree to a set of terms and policies, and very quickly, you can get online, this has become largely the standard onboarding process, and there's there's really not much to say about it. 

TW.  Once you're actually in the app, which you have to download, it's available on Apple and Google Play. There's a home feed with posts often populated by whichever accounts you choose to follow, there's a Groups tab where you can either create a group or find one to join, a Discover tab where you find "Hot Truths", and these issues getting the biggest reaction from the community and other trending topics, and an Alerts tab, mine has remained empty, and the messages tab mine is also empty. So, I can't say much about either of those tabs other than that they exist, and I would expect that they are more or less what the average user would be used to. 

TW.  Let's talk about the actual experience, though, because we could talk about the functionality and what the app looks like. But I think what makes Truth Social unique is the actual experience of being in the app, I created an account. Steve, you created an account. We've been on Truth Social, actually, for months. It's not an app that we check every day or one that we engage with every day. So, bear that in mind as we sort of walk through our experience. 

TW.  Okay, so sign up, I entered my email address and phone number agreed to the policies which I actually read, I would encourage you to do the same not just on Truth Social, but on any platform. Just to get an idea of what what it is they're saying and create an account again very quickly. I agreed to follow the first 10 accounts that were suggested to me or recommended, and then I logged in. 

TW.  So, when you first log in, you land on the homepage, which offers what looks like the standard had feed that you would you would find anywhere else. I've shared concerns in the past about the content that has come up for me, which before today was really focused on posts from Donald Trump. I think once I went in and seven out of 10 were from Donald Trump another time, it was six out of 10. It was really, really focused on content from Donald Trump, and I wonder whether that is the case for most people that the first couple of times you sign on that sort of that sort of where it starts today, though, my first post was from a user with the handle at FreeYourMind69, who is wondering whether our "Woke military" that's a quote, has looked into why United Nations soldiers are in the United States in declaring that another quote, "if an officer is serving a corrupt traitorous President named Biden than they are a traitor as well, in military justice, they cannot say they were just following orders that won't fly and they will be found guilty of treason". end quote. My second post was a link to a news44USA article with two broken DOJ seals in the word corruption in all caps in red in the image, third post was an ad from Truth ads about affiliate marketing in 2023 and the best samples, platforms and tools to use. This came up several more times. From here on out, I'll just refer to it as the Truth ads AD. The fourth post was from Charlie Kirk, he comes up for me a lot, and a link to his podcast about the left's modern Jim Crow. I did not click through so I can't provide any further information on that. The fifth post was again Charlie Kirk quote, "Hamas uses the exact language as BLM. Watch closely. They are funded by some of the same groups. They have many of the same complaints" end quote. It goes on from there, but I think you get the general idea. Sixth post from Jason Miller, three cloud emojis and a link to a political article about DeSantis sitting down with Morning Joe and other more adversarial press, seventh post from Lee Zeldin linking Iran to the Hamas attack in Israel. This is a quote from his post, "the Biden admin must stop coddling, cowering and covering for Iran". Eighth post from Jack Poso. I had quite a bit from him today too.  Quote," look at how much damage the far left and Never Trump have done. Their hands are covered in blood" end quote.

SJ.  Wow, that's quite a lot, and, you know, speaking as a British and Canadian citizen, I have never before heard the US military described as woke. That seems like a characterization that wouldn't fly in most of the world. I don't know. Seems a bit odd.

TW.  I can tell you I would love to see whoever posted this say this to any one of the many people I know who have served or are serving in the US military, I would love to see that conversation unfold in person, because I don't think it would go very well.

SJ.  I think I think it would be extremely short and possibly painful. Yeah, seriously, we do, you can make a claim about UN troops being on US soil. But that isn't really how the UN works. So, I guess we probably shouldn't look for a lot of factual accuracy in posts like that. But anybody who's posting that doesn't know how UN peacekeepers work, and let's be honest, they are UN peacekeepers. They don't just walk into a country, they have to be invited. They come from a whole set of donor countries, and the whole organisation of that is a little bit complicated. And, and not as simple as just putting people on the ground. The UN has not invaded the United States. So, you know, come on, seriously, and also suggesting that any officer in the US military who follows a legal order from the duly appointed commander-in-chief is now guilty of treason. I mean, you can only trace this back to the horrible comments that the man himself made about General Miley, and, you know, this is what we talked about in episode this is the extension of this, you know, that other even less moderate voices are now suggesting this is Truth for everybody in and, you know, the horrible prospect is that somebody will actually act on this at some point that we're after all people who try to kidnap, try and kill a governor prior to the last election cycle, right. Thankfully, were foiled by the FBI, and this is what you were talking about with echo chambers. I mean, I'm rambling on now, Taryn, but this is your homeland; it must be extremely stressful to see some of this written down. 

TW.  Yeah, it really was. It really was distressing, and actually, we're sort of jumping around now and actually recording this episode earlier than we intended to. Because this feels really important. It's it is very worrying, and I think one of the things that struck me is, in my previous little tours of Truth Social, there have always been posts like this, but not all of them or not even the majority of them, there have been some other things mixed in that were slightly more mainstream or slightly less, obviously problematic, and it does feel, and it's a strange position to be in because I was born and raised in the United States. I'm a US citizen, I still vote in the United States. But I've lived in the United Kingdom for the past four years, and, you know, I'm watching all of this unfold, sort of as an inside outsider, outside, insider, whatever, whatever it is, and it just seems like it keeps getting worse, not evenly. Like it's not. It's an even march to constantly getting a little bit worse, a little bit at a time. But that's the direction it feels like it's moving in, and it's really worrying and in hard to watch it from the outside and to see some of these conversations happening.

SJ.  It really is. I mean, that eats posts from Jack Poso look at how much damage the far left and Never Trump has done. I mean, that's, that's connecting the moderate arm of the Republican Party with the far left, and it, I mean, you know, I guess there might be far left political voices in the US, but certainly not compared to the rest of the world, and I'm, you know, saying that sitting here in Europe, right, we we have a reasonably good history with socialism here, and it's nothing like what the US has even on the far left of the Democratic Party, but you know, it's a whole swathe. That's not even just the Democratic Party. Now he's pulling in the non-Trump Republicans and, presumably, all of the independents in the middle. So, this is really factionalized if you're not Trump, a Trump supporter, and we have to assume he's referring to the violence in Israel. But you're actually responsible for that, and that's ludicrous.

TW.  I think that's right. I do think it's, it's an interesting day to be on Truth Social because it's both a day that has traditionally been celebrated as Columbus Day, and we are recording that day, which also is a day or two days after the Hamas attack in Israel, and so I think there are a number of different things swirling around today that maybe wouldn't be there otherwise. But it's also not the case that all of the troubling content is tied to one or both of those things. There may be things about today that are unique, but I don't think it's so unusual that it should be discounted for that reason, and it's not just the news feed or the homepage, by the way. 

So, I joined a variety of groups, including the "Great Awakening Germany", "Anything but Politics", "Florida", "History", and "Really Bad Dad Jokes". The German group was a bit of a waste because it's all in German, with no option to translate, and my German is worse than my French; anything but politics started with a pit bull with pit bull puppies climbing on it. So, that was that was something, and then there was another Truth ads link, a post about Sister Wives as an escape from reality, and the author's concern that the man is a narcissist, I don't watch Sister Wives. But I imagine that must be a main character that that she's referring to, because it's just sort of generally is as that man, the first comment suggested that the original poster should stop watching TV, and this is a quote, "sounds like your brain is mashed potatoes", end quote.

SJ.  Oohhh! 

TW.  Yeah. So, interesting, on a platform that's, you know, built for people who really are supposed to have a lot in common politically, and we'll get to that next episode. But we're talking really about 2% of the US adult population. So, people who have a lot of overlap, you know, still have posts like this, and you know, as far as sounds like your brain has mashed potatoes, not very nice and pretty offensive, but also sort of, you know, a really strong reaction to comment about a TV show. Anyway...! Next was a story about a cat raised by dogs who raced to the ocean to swim. Okay, then a Bible quote image, then a dog and a kitten image with a request to follow the poster on Rumble, which is another alternative social network and so on. So, it really is "Anything but Politics". 

The "Florida" group featured another link to news44USA article, this time accusing the WHO of ordering world governments to ban meat products to prevent the next pandemic. That one really had me scratching my head for all kinds of reasons. Another Truth Ad, another news4USA, this time about the supposed jailing of a writer for: this is a quote, "calling fat lesbian, a fat lesbian online"end quote.  Then another news44USA article claiming to have a video of President Biden violently beating his dog, another news44USA article claiming Biden approves the continuation of the border wall after receiving 10% in kickbacks from construction, and that was about all of the Florida group that I could manage this morning. I can say that I used to live in Florida, still think fondly of much of my time there, but phew, urghh! 

"History" group the history group feature the same atfreeyourmind69 post I mentioned earlier, another Truth Ad, another news44USA article claiming quote, "Biden unveils cool new look and campaign slogan, make the United States a superb second", end quote and another news44USA article with the headline, "California Senator grateful for new job with short commute from home in Maryland".

And time to switch over again to "Really Bad Dad Jokes", Are you ready for this one, Steve? How do you fix a cracked pumpkin?

SJ.  Oh, I don't know. Taryn, how do you fix a cracked pumpkin?

TW.  with a pumpkin patch?

SJ.  Oh, that is bad. 

TW.  I err kind of like it. Okay, next was an ad from "Pulse of Israel" with the headline, another quote, "the only solution to ending the Gaza terror threat" end quote, and then another joke. Are you ready for another one? Last night, I had a dream that I was a muffler. I woke up exhausted.

SJ.  (Laughter) Okay, yeah, you know, it's funny, but also bad. Those are good dad jokes. I'm a little bit puzzled about the only solution to the ending of the Gaza terror threat in the middle there, though. That's a bit odd.

TW.  So this was an ad. I did not click through, but it was clearly an invitation to click through, I guess, to read more about what that solution was, and I decided not to... There was another post said that was a repeat of the news44USA article claiming that Biden's new look in campaign slogan was something about "make the United States is superb second", and then another joke: 

Pollen is what happens when flowers can't keep it in their plants. 

Umm and that brings our time in "Really Bad Dad Jokes" to an end. But you know, mostly as advertised the advert, aside.  My request to join "Exposing Dark Truths", "Trump Forever", and "All Things Barbecue", we're still pending at the time of this recording. So, these are the only the only really highly recommended groups that I can report on at this time.

SJ.  Okay, I do wonder what the entry bar to "All Things Barbecue" is that it's still pending, but you know, fine. I mean, I'm a little bit concerned about the word solution in the in the title to that ad, it has unpleasant undertones of Nazi Germany does not I mean, that's a bit of a dog whistle there and to hide it in a post with some actually not bad dad jokes, as dad jokes are not supposed to be awesome, are they? So that's a little bit that's a little bit scary, I think.  F,r the rest of it. I mean, really? News44USA, I mean, the only thing that's news about it is in the title. Surely, these are the fever dreams of a Qanon addict surely. I mean, the WHO ordering world government to ban meat products. Actually, that sounds a little bit like the Conservative Party conference here, where they they made up a potential meat tax, which had never been discussed, nor was there any intention to ever have one. But they cancelled it. So, maybe that's a that's a thing that they picked up from from the the UK Conservative Party Conference. I don't know, again, that's not how the who works, for crying out loud. If only they could order people to do things have not had such a bad pandemic. In the first place, no one does what they say. So, everybody has to agree. It's like a bureaucracy of bureaucracies. It's why it's a bit inefficient, despite the good work, there are a lot of people do there including many of my friends, and if you're genuinely worried about a writer going to jail or calling a fat lesbian a fat lesbian, you probably shouldn't call a fat lesbian or fat lesbian on your web page, either. Surely, I mean, that's just illogical. But it's clear they're targeting a particular demographic, right? That obviously the world is so woke, that calling a spade a spade is no longer allowed. It's just it's not that it's mean or offensive. That's the problem is the fact that you say that you get arrested for, which, of course, nobody ever has. That's just really vile. But on brand, I think.

TW.  Yeah, I think one of the things that was interesting to me, aside from the obvious false information that was was, was not that much of a surprise was I think the volume of it was a surprise to us. But I think we expected to see some mis- and disinformation. I think what I found interesting because I joined a variety of types of groups. So, I didn't just join groups that were political or groups that were non-political. So, Anything But Politics, Really Bad Dad Jokes, but also, Florida, and History. I can't again, I can't really say anything worthwhile about the German group. But the "Florida" group didn't seem to have anything to do with Florida, and the "History" group really didn't have anything. In the post that I saw that were related to history, despite the fact that it is, you know, Christopher Columbus Day in the US today, maybe it was just too early there. I'm not sure. But it was all just sort of dropped in wherever, and the Really Bad Dad Jokes were specific, but even that was was sort of interrupted by this ad, and it did feel a little bit like, Okay, you're sort of laughing, your guard is down. Now we're going to, we're going to hit you with with something like this, and it is really interesting to think about why they made some of those choices.

 SJ.  Yeah, 

TW.  Again, still waiting to find out if I'm worthy of joining some of those other groups. If at some point I'm allowed in, we'll come back and maybe update what what some of those look like. Aside from the feed in groups, there's also a Discover tab. So, this is where you find what they call hot Truths. So, a lot of these were repeats of content I had already seen, either on the home feed, or in the individual groups, or both. But one worth mentioning and this is a quote, "If you don't think what's happening in Israel can just as easily happen here. Just take a look at this pro-Palestinian march in Chicago", and a post with breaking footage, what, what they claimed to be breaking footage from Luke Ville, Arizona, claiming that this is another quote, "With the attacks we just saw in Israel. What I'm seeing on the border is even more concerning", end quote. 

Obviously, those are big words, especially given some of the other rhetoric we've seen on this site in relation to to those issues. A few notable comments on this last post, another quote, "America will not survive Biden till 2024. Something needs to happen soon to stop the spiralling death of America", end quote. This comment had four re-Truths, or reposts. There are some others expressing concern for the poster's safety, one asserting, quote, "THIS IS TREASON", all caps, we need to start hanging traitors to stop this (four letter word)", unquote, and then several others suggesting that the men coming over the border in Arizona or other similar places all have military haircuts, and that's because this is actually an invasion from a foreign military. It's just marching across the US border. 

SJ.  Wow, those really are steaming piles of hot Truths, aren't they? I'm not even sure where to start. Really. It's it seems pointless here to try and correct the record, but only God. How how divisive and deliberately manipulative to try and link what is an absolutely tragic situation in Israel with a horrendous loss of life, and let's be honest, you know, this is just the latest, horrible death toll in a long history of horrible death rolls for civilians on both sides because of terrorist organisations and then you equate refugees and people running from quite often drug cartels and terrorist organisations in their home countries, and suddenly they are terrorists and are going to be what launching rocket attacks in against US cities. I mean, this is absolutely dreadful fear-mongering and does nobody any good and is only driven to to cause things like people to come out and say this is treason, we need to start hanging people, and then who is it that they are going to start hanging? Is it the woke military that are following orders from, from Biden from our previous posters? Does the US military now have to worry about attacks from it's own citizens because they consider them traitors? Various sort of what this looks like, right? And that's, that is a situation which I never thought we would encounter in my lifetime.

TW.  I mean, all things considered, including the Second Amendment, I think I like the US military's odds in a conflict like that, but it is, it is really worrying. And, you know, that's probably a good place to stop. But next time, we'll really spend some time thinking about whether this is working. So, we'll look at some statistics about Truth and a handful of other so-called alternative social media platforms. Share our own research on one of the news outlets we've talked about today, and conclude our case study.

In the meantime, we'll post a transcript of this episode with references on our website. You can find this and more information about us at

SJ.  Until next time, I'm Steven Jones,

TW.  and I'm Taryn Ward.

SJ.  Thank you for joining us for Breaking the Feed, Social Media: Beyond the Headlines.

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