As widely reported, Hair Füror’s ironically-named Truth Social (Eiron the Goddess of Irony’s favorite work) is not paying its bills and apparently has stiffed its hosting service. Axios has some brief clarity (or whatever they call their enigmatic bullets and strange emboldening):
Truth Social, the app launched by Donald Trump as a free speech platform for conservatives, is facing serious financial and legal stress as it tries to survive.
Why it matters: The app is the former president’s biggest business venture since leaving office — and his best effort to create an alternative populist megaphone to amplify his political brand after being banned from Twitter.
And that’s really the point. We’ve seen this movie before: ETTD.
We are perpetually astounded by how many people and companies are willing to offer products and services to Donald Trump without demanding payment in full in advance. His reputation for not paying for products and services is legendary. He does this routinely, even when the product or service met his expectations, ranging from his refusal to pay the agreed price to a small businessman for supplying pianos to his hotels to his stiffing Rudy Giuliani for so-called legal services.
The most recent installment of the “Trump Won’t Pay” series now involves Trump’s new social media site, Truth Social. The webhosting and management is done by a company called RightForge. The company has been working for Trump for nearly a year but has been paid for only 3 months. The story of Trump’s refusal to pay RightForge was first reported by Fox Business News. Fox Business says that Trump owes the company $1.6 million in unpaid invoices.
Some sources are reporting that Truth Social has financial problems and simply doesn’t have the money. That seems plausible to us. The small music store that got screwed on the pianos couldn’t afford to sue Trump and had to take what he was willing to pay. There was nothing it could do. RightForge can do something that would definitely get Trump’s attention, though: Just type “apachectl -k stop” (or a similar command if the server is not running Apache) and Truth Social will vanish within 5 seconds. Trump would definitely notice. It is possible that the company has threatened to do this and Trump has said that if they do, he will never, ever, pay them a penny, and they backed down.
We return now to Axios:
The big picture: Beyond financial issues, Truth Social and the blank check company it plans to merge with in order to go public are facing serious legal problems and regulatory probes that could derail those plans.
- The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has refused Trump’s application for a trademark for “Truth Social.“
- The blank check company — called Digital World Acquisition Corp. — is under investigationby the SEC for possibly negotiating their deal prior to going public, which is illegal if true.
- An investor sued Digital World Acquisition Corp.’s CEO last year, claiming fraud.
- There’s been confusion regarding whether or not certain members of Truth Social’s board are actually still on the board, including Trump himself.
And it does go on from there, but here’s the point: if fascism/populism is not popular enough to pay the bills at one lousy website, it isn’t enough to fund a political movement.