Now that Donald Trump has been acquitted after his impeachment trial, there are new rumblings about what he might do next.
One idea? Start a new social media company.
It makes sense because the former world leader was booted off Twitter and has no social media platform. Say what you will about the politics of this, the alternative apps available, and how it might all pan out for his future, the writing is on the wall: Trump will definitely do something. I think it will be a social media app.
My guess is the platform will look a bit like a news channel. In fact, I can imagine an app development company pitching the idea: “What if Fox News built a social media app?” Emphasis on video, engagement, and insider posts.
As you may know, Facebook is already a news aggregator, a video channel, and about 100 other things now. The platform that Mark Zuckerberg envisioned way back when is nothing like the current incarnation. It’s a messaging app, a photo archive system, a group discussion portal, and might even take on the Clubhouse app with a drop-in audio feature soon.
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A Trump social media empire might look a lot like a television empire. Users might be able to submit their own news broadcasts, something like a politically conservative version of YouTube. Throw in status updates similar to Twitter, and it might be a gargantuan app that people with like-minded views use to congregate, share their opinions…and help launch his reincarnation.
Mark my words on this one: I’d say a good 10 million people will sign up in the first month. They are waiting for a place to air their grievances ever since Twitter went dark. There’s only one problem.
The technical requirements for a brand new social media platform like this could prove insurmountable, starting with the security requirements but branching out into the legal ramifications of a new app that caters to one segment of the population. Companies like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are more and more concerned about how their platforms have incited people, spurred radical conspiracy theories, and encouraged troll-like behavior.
The one major shift we’ve seen in the social media space lately is that the major platforms are cracking down on fringe views, usually by blocking users or removing the content altogether. Starting about six months ago, I started seeing more and more notices about posts that do not adhere to the terms of service or do not pass a litmus test. You can still click to see the post, but it’s obvious this crackdown will continue for the foreseeable future.
What would a Trump social media network do to skirt these impediments and avoid constant legal trouble? That’s not clear, especially since any new app would be entering the space without much of a track record. While I might be correct that 10 million people would sign-up right away, it could also take years and years before more like 70 million people registered, and even longer to reach 2.8 billion users that are currently on Facebook.
Then there’s the issue of monetization. Trump likes to make money. I’m still not sure how Twitter plans to radically increase revenue, even if they start charging for a subscription. Will advertisers flock to the Trump platform? Will users agree to a social media fee? Could the portal become a springboard for Trump rallies, business properties, and other business opportunities?
Those are all questions we might need to ask soon enough.