Donald Trump's Truth Social boosting online extremism, conspiracies - report

Donald Trump and Truth Social
Trump and other Truth Social leaders and funders regularly boost QAnon accounts. Photo credit: Getty Images / Supplied / Truth Social

Donald Trump's Truth Social, the platform that "encourages an open, free, and honest global conversation" has become an active participant in boosting online extremism, according to a new report.

NewsGuard's Misinformation Monitor for August 2022 detailed how the former US President and other top executives are promoting QAnon accounts on the platform.

QAnon is a far-right conspiracy group in the United States that believes, among other theories, that a 'deep state' network of sex traffickers worked to stop Trump being re-elected in the 2020 presidential election and that current US President Joe Biden's appointment wasn't legitimate.

Many QAnon conspiracists have been banned by Twitter and other social media platforms, but have found refuge on Trump's 'free speech' platform.

According to NewsGuard, Trump and other Truth Social leaders and funders regularly boost QAnon accounts and messages on the fledgling platform.

"This includes the CEO of Truth Social, Devin Nunes, a former Republican member of Congress, as well as Patrick Orlando, chief executive of Digital World Acquisition Corporation, the special–purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that funds Truth Social."

NewsGuard analysts defined QAnon-promoting accounts as those who shared three or more posts with QAnon ideas, slogans and graphics over a two month period, as well as those who have QAnon catchphrases in their names or biographies.

All together, there were 47 QAnon-promoting accounts verified on Truth Social, all with more than 10,000 followers, while there were 88 verified and unverified accounts with more than 10,000 followers who have promoted QAnon.

"More than a third, 32, were previously banned by Twitter," the report said.

Perhaps more worryingly was that Trump, who has 3.8 million followers on the platform, had 'reTruthed' 30 different QAnon accounts 65 times since he first posted in April 2022, substantially increasing the reach of the conspiracy theorists.

That has included pictures of himself, sitting on a throne with a giant uppercase Q in the background, promoting a conspiracy movie by conservative Dinesh D'Souza that included the QAnon hashtag 'WWG1WGA' (where we go one, we go all) and another referencing 'the storm', the day when the deep state will be arrested by Trump.

Meanwhile Nunes, who tried to sue Twitter over a cow parody account, has tagged the @Q Truth Social account five times since February.

The report came out just days after a Fox Business report that said the platform could be in significant financial trouble amid a "bitter battle" with its web host RightForge.

"RightForge contends that Truth Social has made just three payments and ceased making any payments since around March," Fox Business reported, quoting three people familiar with the matter.

"RightForge claims that Truth Social owes it around US$1.6 million and is threatening legal action to recoup the money."

Those payments were contractually obligated according to the sources.