May 25, 2022

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Two senior executives resign from Trump’s Truth Social start-up | Donald Trump

Two senior executives at Donald Trump’s tech start-up Truth Social have resigned, adding to considerable problems faced by the former president’s attempted takeover of conservative social media.

Josh Adams and Billy Boozer – Truth Social’s chiefs of technology and product development – joined the venture last year and quickly became central players in its effort to build a social media empire to counter what many conservatives deride as “cancel culture” censorship from the left.

But on Monday, two sources familiar with the venture said the pair had resigned their senior posts at a critical juncture for the company’s smartphone-app release plans.

The departures followed the troubled launch of the company’s iPhone app on 20 February. Many users remain on a waiting list, unable to access the platform.

The Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) chief executive, Devin Nunes, a former Republican congressman, said publicly the company aimed to make the app fully operational within the US by the end of March.

The company has an app for iPhones but no app for Android phones, which comprise more than 40% of the US market. TMTG has advertised for an engineer to build one.

Boozer declined to comment and Adams did not respond to a request. Representatives for TMTG and Trump did not respond to requests for comment. Eight people with knowledge of Truth Social’s activities spoke on condition of anonymity.

Truth Social is part of a growing sector of tech firms catering to conservatives and marketing themselves as free-speech champions. The platform promised Trump unfettered communication with his public more than a year after he was kicked off Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for allegedly inciting or glorifying violence during the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.

“If Josh has left, all bets are off,” a source said of Adams, calling him the “brains” behind Truth Social’s technology. Another source said Boozer also had a large leadership role as product chief, running management across technology infrastructure, design and development teams.

It remained unclear whether Adams and Boozer still work on the venture in a different capacity. Their resignations came before their roles in the closely watched company were even publicly known.

Adams and Boozer worked just below Wes Moss and Andy Litinsky, former castmates on The Apprentice, Trump’s hit reality TV show, according to a source familiar with the venture.

Moss and Litinsky have been the “senior, day-to-day leadership” since the company started last summer, the source said. The two men pitched Trump on the venture in January 2021, according to a person familiar with the company’s founding.

Neither responded to requests for comment. TMTG has released little information about its executive leadership team outside of Nunes, who joined in December.

Another open question is how TMTG is funding current growth. The company is planning to go public through a merger with blank-check firm Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC). The deal is under scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission and is probably months away from being finalized.

DWAC disclosed in a regulatory filing last December that the SEC was investigating the deal. The SEC has not addressed the nature of the inquiry and did not respond to a request for comment.

Investors have pledged $1bn to TMTG but they will not hand over that money until the DWAC deal closes. DWAC shares fell 13% after market opening on Monday, as Twitter saw its shares surge 25% after an investment by the Tesla chief executive, Elon Musk.

Trump’s level of involvement with his namesake company and Truth Social remains unclear. The former president so far has written only one post – or “truth” – on the platform, writing on 14 February: “Get Ready! Your favorite President will see you soon!”

Downloads of the Truth Social app have declined precipitously, from 866,000 the week of its launch to 60,000 the week of 14 March, according to data analytics firm Sensor Tower. The firm estimates the Truth Social app has been downloaded 1.2m times, far behind rival conservative apps Parler and Gettr at 11.3m and 6.8m respectively.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/apr/05/donald-trump-truth-social-senior-executives-resign