Despite Elon Musk’s green light, Donald Trump won’t be able to return to Twitter so easily

The former American president is now free to return to his favorite social network. But he is also financially committed to his own platform, Truth Social.

“To everyone who asked, I will not be going to the nomination on January 20.” This is Donald Trump’s last Twitter post on January 8, 2021, before his account was finally suspended following the storming of the Capitol two days before.

But since last November 20, he’s been free to come back to his favorite social network: it’s the outcome of a vote launched by Elon Musk, new boss of the platform.

This November 21, the former American president had still not published anything there, while he announced last week his intention to run for the White House again in 2024. Because if the temptation is great, the return of the billionaire n nothing is obvious. And this hesitation is linked to a story of big money.

Six hour lag

Back in 2021. After his ouster from Twitter but also from Facebook and YouTube, Trump is looking to find a new sounding board. He then promised to create his own social network. The announcement is finally made in October of the same year and Truth Social is launched in March 2022.

Created on the model of Twitter, the social network attracts the radical right and the idolaters of Donald Trump. He himself is obviously active even if his messages do not have the reach that they had before. The ex-president is followed by 4 million people on Truth Social against 88 million on Twitter.

But as recalled by New YorkMagazine in May 2022, citing a public financial document, Donald Trump made a commitment to his investors to put his publications on Truth Social exclusively online for six hours. In other words, Donald Trump could only replicate his messages with a long delay if he were to use Twitter. With, however, major exceptions for messages “of a political nature”, which could leave a gap for the former president to use other platforms.

Weakening his own empire

But Truth Social is also a financial issue. To create it, Trump founded a media company (Trump Media & Technology Group, TMTG) in association with UAV, a company run by two former contestants of his reality show The Apprentice.

As the story goes washington post, Trump did not go far from jumping ship. In June 2021, even before the completion of “his” social network, he had on the table an offer from Gettr, yet another Twitter clone for Trumpists, developed by his former assistant and spokesperson: $ 5 million in revenue per year and a capital participation. UAV’s lawyers quickly stepped up to the plate because the ex-president had negotiated an agreement in February 2021 with them to cede part of his intellectual property rights to his name, images, photos, videos, etc.

Finally, Trump will remain faithful to Truth Social, well aware that his departure would be a detriment to his own financial empire. For the same reasons, a return to Twitter would risk causing the collapse of its fragile platform, which in September had only 1.7 million unique visitors in the United States.

Thomas Le Roy Journalist BFM Business

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