Donald Trump’s social media network, is struggling to get Google’s approval to distribute its Android app on the Play Store, due to what Google calls insufficient content moderation.
Google contacted Truth Social on August 19, telling the Trump Media & Technology Group, or TMTG, that the app violated several standard policies and reiterating the need for effective moderation of user-generated content.
“Last week, Truth Social responded by acknowledging our feedback and saying they are working to resolve these issues,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday.
An unidentified source said Axios that Google is also concerned about content relating to “physical threats and incitement to violence”.
TMTG did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Google noted that the Play Store is not the only way TMTG distributes the Truth Social app on Android. Developers can offer apps through other app stores or allow users to download them directly from a website. Searching for Truth Social on the Play Store gives people the opportunity to “pre-registration“the application if or when it becomes available for download.
Trump was kicked off social media following the January 6, 2021 deadly assault on the US Capitol. A few days later, a right-wing social media appGoogle Play Store and Apple App Store over allegations that people were using Parler as an online hangout before the riot. “We do not condone or condone violence on our platform and we never will,” Parler said at the time.
TMTG says it faces a double standard compared to other apps on the Play Store. “Some of our competitors’ apps are allowed on the Google Play Store despite blatantly violating Google’s ban on sexual content and other policies, while Truth Social has zero tolerance for sexually explicit content,” said said TMTG in a press release on Tuesday.
TMTG also claims to have worked in good faith with Google to ensure Truth Social follows Google’s policies, and has called its content moderation “the most robust in the industry.”
Truth Social, which launched in February, would be short of money and owes its online host, RightForge, $1.6 million. The social network would also struggle to find new users. Whereas Android accounts for 44% of the mobile operating system’s market share in the United States, Truth Social’s user expansion was likely affected by the app’s absence from the platform. Truth Social has been on the Apple App Store since February. The app saw a slight increase in downloads on iOS following the of the former president’s Mar-a-Lago residence earlier this month.
Correction, 2:30 p.m. PT: An earlier version of this story was wrong when Truth Social launched. It was launched in February.