Donald Trump’s Truth Social should not be available for download on Apple or Google’s online stores following an escalation of violent rhetoric on the platform, according to a letter sent today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
Both Apple and Google have community standards that claim to create a safe, productive and inclusive environment for users. Following the January 6th insurrection, Apple pledged to “stand for democracy” and prevent the promotion of extremist content, and Google took the step of removing Parler from its Google Play Store because it did not meet Google’s content moderation standards. At this time, Google has considered adding Truth Social to Google Play Store for download, but has yet to approve the app given insufficient content moderation.
“In the past months, the potential dangers we anticipated would appear on Truth Social have become reality, with misinformation and violent rhetoric proliferating,” said CREW President Noah Bookbinder. “The app not only poses an existential threat to our democracy, but also puts law enforcement officers, civil servants and the public at risk.”
In April, CREW called on Cook to remove Truth Social from its app store given the app’s potential to spread disinformation and foment an attack on democracy. Following the FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, downloads of the app increased, and conspiracy theories and violent posts on the app became more abundant. Users on the platform doxxed FBI personnel, the magistrate judge who signed the court order in the Mar-a-Lago search, and their families, and made posts rallying people to prepare for combat. Former president Trump also turned to the platform to spread misinformation about the search and rally his supporters.
“Apple and Google can play a crucial role in protecting our democracy by keeping Truth Social off their app stores,” said Bookbinder. “We are seeing Donald Trump use Truth Social to run the same playbook he did before January 6th. If Apple and Google allow the platform to run unchecked, they discredit their own values and aid and abet the violence we are seeing from Trump’s supporters.”