TruthSocial will not have exclusive rights to Donald Trump – Mother Jones political posts

Photo by AP / Ross D. Franklin, file)

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The business model of former President Donald Trump’s new digital media empire largely hinges on one man: Donald Trump. For all the talk about free speech and Silicon Valley’s left-wing struggle against technology monopoly, TruthSocial is a digital extension of the Trump brand. Paperwork presented Monday by a company Trump partnered with shows that no one is under any illusions about it. Without Trump, there is simply no TruthSocial.

Trump Media & Technology Group, the parent company of TruthSocial, is “heavily dependent on the popularity and presence of President Trump, his president and largest shareholder,” notes Digital World Acquisition Corp, a publicly traded shell company planning to merge. with Trump media venture, in a filing filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. DWAC goes on to warn its investors that this dependence on the defeated president carries with it some risks:

President Trump has significant influence on TMTG’s business plan. TMTG believes that President Trump’s reputation and relationships are critical to the success of TMTG’s business. TMTG’s future success will depend, to a significant extent, on President Trump’s continued presence and popularity. If President Trump terminated his relationship with TMTG due to death, disability or any other reason, or limited his involvement with TMTG by becoming a candidate for political office, TMTG would be greatly disadvantaged.

In his time on Twitter, Trump built a large audience of tens of millions of followers, many of whom hated him as much as his fans loved him. News cycles and even the stock market were driven by his tweets. So while TruthSocial and the rest of TMTG will depend on the former president’s continued interest (and existence), having the exclusive rights to his social media posts could also provide a huge benefit to the company. But, it turns out, TruthSocial doesn’t have this.

DWAC revealed in Monday’s filing TruthSocial has the exclusive rights to some of Trump’s social media posts, but he won’t have a monopoly on the kind of political red meat that made Trump such a draw on Twitter in the first place. In general, Trump will be forced to post content on TruthSocial six hours before it can be posted elsewhere. But there’s a huge loophole: These rules don’t apply to any content related to political messages, political fundraisers, or efforts to get out of the vote. Those can be published wherever Trump wants, when he wants.

Which is kind of an exceptional exception to an exclusive deal.

According to Trump’s Twitter Archives, at least half of Trump’s 20 most liked tweets were directly about politics, and most of the rest were directly related to his role as president, which is quite a political job. The most popular tweet was her announcement that she had Covid, followed by a statement that she felt fine, which, considering the looming elections at the time, was probably as much about “political messages” as a medical update.

Very few of Trump’s most popular tweets were strictly personal or unrelated to politics. He wished readers Merry Christmas and tweeted about the arrest of rapper A $ AP Rocky and the death of Kobe Bryant. But it’s hard to imagine that these kinds of messages would be That much of a tie for TruthSocial.

DWAC is what is known as a Special Purpose Acquisition Company, or SPAC, a “blank check” company that has been listed on the stock exchange for literally no purpose or business. After going public, this empty shell of a company looks for another business that has a purpose and wants to go public on the stock market, but prefers to avoid the potentially cumbersome and costly process of going through an initial public offering. If the two companies can merge, it represents a quick shortcut to going public, involving tons of money and investment potential, and that’s exactly what Trump is looking for. Last fall, DWAC and TMTG agreed to collaborate, but logistical hurdles still remain before that can happen. Documents on Monday are expected to reveal key details on the proposed merger to investors.

DWAC went public with a share price of $ 10, as all SPACs do, and after announcing plans to merge with the company behind TruthSocial, the share price has soared to a high of $ 97. decreased, it recently traded below $ 40 before climbing back to $ 45.75 after Monday’s statement. The stock’s price fell and jumped erratically along with speculations that Elon Musk’s Twitter purchase could allow Trump to return to the platform that banned him after the January 6 uprising. Though Trump has said he won’t be returning to Twitter, he’s not exactly known for delivering on his promises and has only posted twice on TruthSocial since its creation last fall.

Additionally, Trump’s deal with TMTG apparently prevents the company from firing him, even as it becomes clear that it’s no longer helping the brand. “The terms of a licensing agreement with President Trump cannot be terminated by TMTG when it may be desirable for TMTG,” the DWAC filing says. “The licensing agreement does not require President Trump to use Truth Social under certain circumstances and may require TMTG to make payments to President Trump for content” on the company’s planned video streaming service.

Specifically, the filing makes it clear that bad or even illegalTrump’s behavior, the kind of behavior that often leads to the cancellation of a contract, would not be a valid reason for TMTG to stop associating with Trump.

“TMTG has entered into a licensing agreement with President Trump under which neither President Trump’s personal nor political conduct, even if such conduct could adversely affect TMTG’s reputation or brand or be considered offensive, dishonest, illegal, immoral. or unethical or otherwise harmful to TMTG’s brand or reputation, should be considered a violation of the licensing agreement, ”DWAC told its investors.

Filing, as it should be, is also brutally honest about the kind of impact Trump can have on a brand. Although his Twitter activity has been the center of global attention, DWAC admits polls have shown that only 30% of people say they would be interested in using a Trump-associated social media site. And, the company notes, its association with Trump could lead to a lot of pressure on advertisers and a lot of motivation for bad guys to try to hack the site, breach its security, or flood it with spam.

The fact that Trump’s name is like catnip for many Republicans is also potentially problematic, the document says, as GOP political groups recently sent out fundraising appeals calling for Trump’s latest trade effort. A fundraising email of the Republican National Committee asked recipients to subscribe to TruthSocial and urged them, “Please don’t be the reason Trump’s social site fails.” In its filing, DWAC acknowledges that this may not be helpful if people “find these misleading solicitations undesirable.”

Ultimately, however, it is possible that none of this matters. In December, an earlier DWAC filing revealed that both the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority had initiated investigations, looking into whether TMTG and DWAC executives had improperly coordinated with each other before DWAC went public and whether a insider trading in the period of DWAC initial public offering. DWAC and TMTG officials have denied any wrongdoing and the filing points out that the mere existence of an investigation does not mean it has merit. DWAC hadn’t mentioned the investigations for several months, but DWAC said on Monday that the investigations remain active and that it is cooperating with authorities in both. Ultimately, those investigations could completely condemn the merger, the company warned.

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