Opinion: Donald Trump’s TRUTH Threatens Society As We Know It

Former US President Donald Trump announced the launch of TRUTH social, his own social media platform

Donald trump

Now there will also be social networks depending on the political discourse, where the slightest possibility of controversy as they are open spaces, will be vetoed. Photo: Flickr-Gage Skidmore, Latampost

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: Opinión: la plataforma de Donald Trump amenaza la sociedad como la conocemos

Donald Trump was one of the global leaders who took the best advantage of communication through social networks. His greatest ally was Twitter and he used it as his main campaign platform for the 2016 elections that led him to the White House. However, due to the constant censorship of his incendiary tweets and his ban from Twitter (and so many others), Trump decided to launch his own microblogging platform called TRUTH Social.

However, this decision opens the door for a change in the way we consume social networks and can jeopardize social integrity. No longer will only the algorithms and political bubbles that we use to reaffirm our ideas, discourses, and political visions suffice. We will also have several social networks where the interaction between different positions will be increasingly difficult.

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We are facing the possible beginning of an era of post-truth never seen before. Much more extreme than the one we live in today, where partisan politicians, leaders, and media have speeches and "information" that reaffirm their positions, where they surround themselves only with followers. Now there will also be social networks depending on the political discourse, where the slightest possibility of dissent will be vetoed. Simply, if you do not like the speech in a certain social network, you will only have to open a profile in one that is closer to your ideals.

We have already seen what happens within like-minded groups. Opinion bubbles, as experts name them, are the tendency that many have of only following content related to our ideals. It is using our social networks to follow only people who think like us and who reaffirm our beliefs. This represents the risk of: first, not allowing healthy debate and the exchange of ideas; and furthermore, it collaborates with the polarization of a society where those who think differently are seen as the enemy, since there is little contact with others. 

In addition, the control of these new platforms must be exercised by the countries and we will not be able to count on independent or objective moderators. Now we will only be protected under national laws and regulations. But, in a country (the United States, but it may be others) where even the Supreme Court is partisan, how to expect that the regulations to prevent Fake News on these social networks are enforced? The self-regulation that social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. have been doing will no longer be possible.

In addition, these new platforms will be the ideal habitat for hate speech. The more extreme we become, the more easily we will be seduced by discourses that are xenophobic, racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic or discriminatory for any other characteristic. In mainstream social networks, measures have already begun to be taken, but we will not know the policies that will manage social networks that defend, above all, freedom of expression.

But it is not only hate speech that can benefit from a counterweight-free scenario. The dissemination of false news of scientific deficiency can find in these niches, ideal environments for its mass reproduction (even more than what we have already experienced in the other platforms). For example, conspiracy theories, anti-vaccine movements or extremist groups can feed themselves and end up doing more damage to public health.

Wall Street has already given its partial opinion on this initiative. Last week, shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp grew as much as 842% after its merger with Trump Media & Technology Group, which are the managers of TRUTH Social. But this is not the first conservative social network to be launched, will it be the first to not fail?

This is not the first social network of the Altright

Although this initiative has the full support of Donald Trump, this is not the first social network focused on conservative bubbles. For a few years, there have been platforms such as Parler or Gettr. However, none of these initiatives has managed to take hold.

But precisely, the influence that Donald Trump may have on his followers could be a sufficient hook for various Republican sectors to start using this tool.

Knowing that the New Yorker has almost guaranteed his candidacy for the next elections, this would give strength and relevance to TRUTH. We have already seen what the indiscriminate use of social networks by political leaders with disinformation interests can be capable of. The taking of the Capitol on January 6, 2021 is a clear example of this. 

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