Android won’t touch Truth Social because the app can’t moderate violent user content

Even though it’s been months since Truth Social hit the market, Google still hasn’t allowed hordes of Trump supporters to download their former president’s favorite app from its app store. Finally, the company revealed that Truth has so far failed to come up with a content moderation policy that satisfies the tech giant.

Axios first reported that Google has not approved Truth Social for distribution on the Google Play Store, simply because the app does not yet moderate the content that users post, especially those related to violence.

This was confirmed by a Google spokesperson who told Gizmodo in an email:

β€œOn August 19, we notified Truth Social of several standard policy violations in its current app submission and reiterate that having effective systems in place to moderate user-generated content is a condition of our terms of service for any app is activated on Google Play. Last week, Truth Social responded by acknowledging our comments and saying they are working to address these issues.”

Although this is not what the leaders of Trump Media and Technology Group, the owners of Truth Social, say. Former congressman and group CEO Devin Nunes told the Real America’s Voice podcast in an Aug. 26 episode that the app was waiting for Google to give them approval and that “they could approve it tomorrow and it would be … available to reserve.” . He also added, “We built this brick by brick so we wouldn’t get canceled.”

Google has said that Nunes misrepresented conversations currently taking place at Google and that, so far, the app has not complied with Google’s policies that restrict content that includes physical threats and speech that incites violence. Axios reported, based on an anonymous source with knowledge of the situation, that Google is concerned about posts that say things like “Someone admits this nation needs to be bombed because it’s satanic.”

Still, it’s not like far-right supporters trying to listen to their beloved leader’s siren call are restricted from accessing the app. The tech giant does not restrict downloading apps through its own websites.

But the dividing line between “violence” and “politics” is sometimes a bit thin in far-right circles. Researchers have already shown that QAnon supporters abound on Truth Social, and are actively promoted by major Republican political players and former President Donald Trump himself. Trump has “refuted” posts talking about the need for a civil war in the US, according to the researchers.

Android won't touch Truth Social because the app can't moderate violent user content

On the other side of the coin, the Apple Store has allowed Truth Social to continue unabated since February of this year. It quickly rose to the number one most downloaded social media app on the day of its launch. The app lagged behind many others for months until this month, when users began flocking to the app after the FBI launched its search for Trump’s home and Mar-a-Lago resort.

Apple’s own policies for user-generated content require apps to have “A method of filtering objectionable material from being posted in the app.” Any app that violates these guidelines may be “removed without notice.”

Gizmodo received no immediate response from Apple on what metrics it uses to determine that Truth Social has not yet violated its guidelines.

Far-right apps have had trouble getting the major app store providers to let them set up a store. Parler, in particular, has been banned from the Google and Apple app stores. At the time, Apple called Parler’s content moderation “inadequate”, but it is now available for download after “months of productive dialogue with Apple”. Truth Social does use a “confidential content” banner on some posts that may not be “suitable for all audiences,” but it does not appear on all content that relates to obvious calls to violence, exemplified by the multiple posts that he himself Trump has posted again.

Truth Social uses a censorship technology called Hive that Nunes said was geared toward keeping Truth “family-friendly,” including pornography, violence, hate speech, or bullying, though the app’s owners tried to shut it down. Of course, the systems do not censor anything “political”. .” We know that the site occasionally ban users, although the question remains how he determines which speech is inappropriate. Twitter users reported that they were banned from the platform for daring to speak about the January 6 hearings.

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