Devin Nunes begs Google to approve Trump’s social media platform for Android devices

Truth Social notably uses AI moderation in place of a human-powered review system

Graig Graziosi
Friday 02 September 2022 19:33 BST
Related video: Trump unable to say the name of his social media website Truth Social

Former US Representative and current Truth Social CEO Devin Nunes is pleading with Google to reverse its decision to block Donald Trump's personal social media platform back onto its app store.

Google made the decision to block the app from its store after it determined that content moderation on the Twitter-clone social media app was not meeting the necessary minimum standards to be included in the marketplace.

Mr Nunes said in an interview that Google was taking a long time to approve the app, but Google said that it wasn't dragging its feet. Rather, the tech giant had delayed adding the app to its store due to multiple policy violations that it brought to Truth Social's attention.

According to Tech Crunch, the bulk of those issues were concerns over the content moderation within the app. Truth Social uses an AI moderation system, which does not appear to be capable of keeping up with Google's requirements.

Mr Nunes appeared on Newsmax this week to discuss the block and insist that Truth Social's moderation is in line with Google's standards.

"The idea that Google has not, or will not, approve us is fake news," Mr Nunes told the far-right media station. "But they still haven't approved us yet."

He said he hopes that Google will approve Truth Social as quickly as possible and said the platform was "family friendly."

“Part of our business model is to be family-friendly, and I would put Truth Social up against any other platform out there," he said. "I would say there is not a cleaner platform that Truth Social."

Google apparently does not agree. According to the company, it saw several instances in which Truth Social posters threatened physical violence and calls for violence, both which violate the Google Play store's policies.

In a statement to Axios, Google noted: “On Aug. 19, we notified Truth Social of several violations of standard policies in their current app submission and reiterated that having effective systems for moderating user-generated content is a condition of our terms of service for any app to go live on Google Play. Last week Truth Social wrote back acknowledging our feedback and saying that they are working on addressing these issues.”

While users can — and certainly have — posted threats and calls for violence on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, there are moderation systems in place that involve human oversight. The lack of human oversight appears to be a major sticking point for Google.

In the meantime, the app remains available on Apple's App Store, and it is unclear if its moderation issues will have any impact on its availability there.

Truth Social has become a haven for individuals banned from mainstream social media sites, in particular QAnon adherents. Mr Trump's social media app is home to numerous QAnon posters, and the former president has even boosted those accounts — and other conspiracy theories — by sharing them from his official Truth Social account.

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