The company warned this week that its business could be damaged if Trump “become less popular or there are new controversies that damage his credibility.” The company has seen its stock price plunge nearly 75% since its peak in March and said in a filing last week that it lost $6.5 million in the first half.
The FBI’s search for Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida estate, fueled an explosion in Truth Social user activity, and Trump himself increasingly used the site as one of its leading online megaphones. “WE GAVE THEM A LOT,” he said, or “truthfully,” Friday in reaction to an FBI affidavit of classified documents kept at his Palm Beach home.
FBI attacker contributed prolifically to Trump’s Truth Social website
There are signs that the company’s financial base has begun to erode. The Trump Company stopped paying RightForge, a conservative web hosting service, in March and now owes it more than $1 million, according to Fox Business, which first reported the dispute.
The company also struggled with some basics of how the business operated. The US Patent and Trademark Office this month denied its ‘Truth Social’ trademark application, citing ‘risk of confusion’ with other companies with the same name, including an app, ‘VERO – True Social”, first published in 2015.
Representatives for the Trump Company and Digital World did not respond to requests for comment.
RightForge presented itself as a stalwart of the conservative push to build a parallel internet protected from “big tech censorship”. Its chief executive, Martin Avila, declined to comment and said, “We fully support the president and his efforts.”
But two people familiar with the dispute, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private details, said the lack of payment fueled anger that Trump could scam a champion of his “free speech” mission. “.
The Trump Company and RightForge have communicated with each other exclusively through attorneys in recent weeks, the people said. Shares of Digital World Acquisition fell about 7% on Friday.
Trump’s social truth in trouble as financial and technical problems mount
Trump companies have faced many similar payment battles over the years. In previous filings with the SEC, Digital World also noted that “a number of companies associated with [Trump] have filed for bankruptcy” and that “there is no guarantee that [Trump’s media company] also won’t go bankrupt.
In fact, Digital World filings have always been pessimistic about the likelihood of Truth Social being a hit. Trump’s company “may never generate operating revenue or achieve profitable operations,” she said in May, and if it “fails to resolve [its] risks, his business will most likely fail.
In June, Digital World said he had been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury and was the subject of Justice Department and SEC investigations that could delay his merger with the Trump Company. The deal, originally scheduled for this year, is now frozen indefinitely.
Digital World also said in filings that Trump’s social network will need millions of people to “use it regularly” for the site to be commercially successful.
But Trump, the site’s most popular user, has less than 4 million subscribers, and the site’s most active trending topics, including #DefundTheFBI, have only shown a few thousand people posting about them lately. days, according to site data. By comparison, Twitter says about 37 million people in the United States actively use the site every day.
Pro-Trump influencers have flocked to alternative social media. Their follower count stopped soon after.
Truth Social has become a common sounding board for pro-Trump talk and outrage. A gunman who was killed after failing to storm an FBI office in Cincinnati had been a frequent user of Truth Social, urging subscribers in posts to ‘kill’ FBI agents ‘on sight’, according to a profile that matched the suspect’s name, location and photograph.
But in the days following the FBI’s search for Mar-a-Lago, Truth Social’s viewership slowed, according to traffic estimates from Similarweb, an online analytics firm. Its US viewership dipped to around 300,000 views per day, from nearly 1.5 million on launch day.
While the site’s reputation suffered after its February launch was marred by fake accounts, a long waiting list and other technical issues, this period also marked the peak of the site’s online popularity. according to estimates.
Trump faces Justice Department investigations into his role in the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol and his handling of classified documents after losing the presidency. Civilian investigators in New York are digging into the Trump Organization, his longtime real estate and licensing company.
Trump supporters rushed to debunk the Jan. 6 testimony. Then they got confused.
Even his hiring of former Republican congressman Devin Nunes, a staunch Trump ally, to be the company’s CEO is under intense scrutiny. West Palm Beach Magistrate Judge William Matthewman ruled earlier this month that Trump Media must provide information regarding Nunes’ employment to Hearst Magazine Media and journalist Ryan Lizza, whom Nunes sued for defamation.
Nunes, who took office in January, currently earns $750,000 a year and is expected to increase, after two years, to $1 million, according to the Digital World documents.