Donald Trump’s social media app ‘Truth Social’ hijacked by fake account before launch

Former president says new media network is effort to ‘stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech’

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Thursday 21 October 2021 15:22

Donald Trump To Launch New Social Media Platform

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Former President Donald Trump’s new social media platform “TRUTH Social” was accessed by Twitter users within hours of its announcement and well before officially opening up for new users to sign up.

Accounts were created under the usernames “donaldtrump” and “mikepence” and the handle “donaldjtrump” appeared to have been hacked or nabbed by someone out to mock the former president.

Mr Trump announced on Wednesday that he was launching a media network – the Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG) – including a social media platform called “TRUTH Social”, which he said was an effort to “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech”.

The former president was banned from several major social media platforms following the Capitol riot, when a pro-Trump mob stormed Congress in an effort to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.

Just a few hours after the announcement, Twitter users had managed to hijack the beta-version of the platform with apparently fake accounts for Mr Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.

The pinned post for the user “donaldjtrump” was an image of a defecating pig, seemingly in an attempt to mock the former president.

The new platform is said to be scheduled for launch next year, and Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington posted a statement on Twitter saying that the app will be able to pre-order in the App Store by next month.

While Donald Trump Jr told Sean Hannity of Fox News on Wednesday that the platform will be in the beta testing stage for the next several weeks, the site still appeared to be accessible for a time.

Daily Dot tech reporter Michael Thalen tweeted that he “was just able to set up an account using the handle @donaldtrump on ‘Truth Social,’ former President Donald Trump’s new social media website. Although the site is not officially open, a URL was discovered allowing users to sign up anyway”.

In a subsequent tweet, Mr Thalen added: “The public domain for what appeared to be the mobile beta of Trump’s new social media platform ‘Truth Social’ has been taken offline.”

The terms of service of Truth Social says the network has a ban on “excessive use of capital letters”, something Mr Trump employed frequently during his time on Twitter.

Washington Post tech reporter Drew Harwell tweeted that “anyone can create an account on Trump’s social network TRUTH Social using a publicly available link. I literally just registered “mikepence.” The site hasn’t even launched yet and it’s already this vulnerable”.

The beta testing site later appeared to have been taken offline.

Other conservative platforms have also experienced technical difficulties. Frank, a site started in April by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, experienced widespread errors as it was launched, with people unable to sign up and instead being greeted by a 48-hour livestream from Mr Lindell while the platform itself remained inactive.

Former Trump adviser Jason Miller started GETTR, another Twitter-like conservative platform, which was hacked on its first day of operation.

“I created TRUTH Social and TMTG to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech,” Mr Trump said in the statement tweeted by Ms Harrington. “We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favourite American President has been silenced. This is unacceptable.”

“TRUTH Social plans to begin its Beta Launch for invited guests in November 2021. A nationwide rollout is expected in the first quarter of 2022,” the statement also said.

The Independent has reached out to the office of Mr Trump for comment.

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