Donald Trump-owned social media site, Truth Social, has seen a big influx of interest and new users following last week’s widely-publicized FBI raid on the former president’s Florida home.
Between July 31 and Aug 7, 2022 the app was downloaded fewer than 20,000 times. Yet last week, that number jumped up to more than 100,000 downloads, according to stats provided to Gizmodo by data.ai, a market analytics company, and first reported on by Vice.
The platform has faced numerous technical issues from the very start, including long waitlists, outages, and security flaws. It is still not available on Android. And even Trump has seemed less than all-in on his own social media site, leaving a contract loophole open to rejoin Twitter, should the opportunity ever present itself.
However, even with those ongoing problems, Truth jumped from the 60th most popular social app in July up to #37 this month so far, and became the second most downloaded “social microblogging app,” according to data.ai.
On the day that it launched, Truth Social was downloaded from the iOS app store 169,000 times, but it hasn’t reached nearly that high since. As of August 15, the app has been downloaded a total of about 3 million times—a teeny-tiny number compared with the hundreds of millions of Twitter users. And has a significantly smaller user-base than other platforms also popular among Trump supporters and the far-right, like Parler, which has about 16 million registered users, according to Earthweb.
On August 8, the FBI executed a search warrant of Mar-a-Lago to retrieve classified materials that Trump had reportedly improperly taken from the White House—including possible documents related to nuclear weapons.
Following the raid, a man armed with a nail gun, Ricky Water Shiffer, attempted to attack the FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio and was shot and killed by police. Prior his death Shiffer posted extensively about his plans and motivations on Truth Social, according to another Vice report.
Trump has been posting much more frequently on his platform in the aftermath of both the raid and attack attempt, likely contributing to the rising download numbers.
Those recent posts include some confusing “endorsements” of Democratic candidates Dan Goldman and Carolyn Maloney that Trump made earlier this week. Both have been outspoken critics of his (and directly involved in official proceedings against him), and the posts were interpreted by many as deeply sarcastic. Though, there’s a chance they could’ve also been an earnest attempt to sway support away from the candidates, whose target audiences are likely put-off by the thought of Trump’s approval.
Maloney is running for re-election in New York’s 12th Congressional District, and is acting chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, which is still investigating Trump.
Goldman, who is running for Congress in New York’s newly redistricted 10th District, is a lawyer who served as lead counsel in the first impeachment inquiry into Trump. If Goldman were to win his election, he would also be one of the wealthiest members of Congress. He is the heir to the Levi Strauss & Co. fortune, and has a net worth of up to $253 million according to Bloomberg.
So, who knows, maybe Trump finds some kinship with him, and does want Goldman to win over other, more progressive candidates after all. We, at Gizmodo, do not pretend to know the mind of Donald Trump. But if you manage to navigate the wait lists and technical issues to get on Truth Social, you will have a window in that a (relatively) few, but rising number of others share.