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Prank exploits Trump’s social media platform to annoy former president

One TikTok user concluded that Truth Social is “really easy to break into” because its audience is vastly smaller than its better known rivals.


Halfway through his presidency, Donald Trump came up with a curious boast about his skillset. “I know tech better than anyone,” the Republican declared in late 2018.

Soon after, Trump kept this going, telling reporters that “nobody knows much more about technology” than him, adding, “I’m a professional at technology.”

Despite the vast technological expertise of a man who was confused by how Google News worked, the former president’s online endeavors haven’t fared especially well. His blog, for example, launched a couple of years ago, but it was scrapped less than a month later — due to lack of reader interest.

The Trump Media & Technology Group — billed as a business that would compete with both Twitter and Netflix — has faced difficulties of its own, including an ongoing investigation from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Making matters a bit worse, the former president’s social media platform currently exists, though as NBC News reported, some have found it relatively easy to manipulate.

Three TikTok users said they believe their video was the inspiration for thousands of people to troll Truth Social, the social media platform launched by former President Donald Trump. Their goal? To get Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is widely considered to be Trump’s biggest opponent in the 2024 presidential race, trending on Trump’s own platform. DeSantis hasn’t announced his intentions yet, but he is widely expected to run for the Republican presidential nomination.

Peter McIndoe Jr. filmed a video in front of Trump Tower in New York, explaining that if 100 or so people created accounts and used the #desantis2024 hashtag, “it will literally be trending” because the platform just doesn’t have that many users.

The assumption proved true: A few TikTok users persuaded a modest number of people to create Truth Social accounts and publish #desantis2024 messages. A day later, it stood atop the list of the most popular topics on the platform.

Ari Cagan, one of the TikTok users behind the idea, told Vice News, “We wanted to make something trend that would really piss off Trump. We noticed that he was ‘truthing’ a lot about DeSantis. If DeSantis started trending on his own platform, it would annoy him to no end.”

Cagan also told NBC News that Truth Social is “really easy to break into” because its audience is vastly smaller than its better known rivals.

After the pro-DeSantis message fared well, it became more difficult to join Truth Social, though it’s not altogether clear why: Maybe the system’s servers struggled, or maybe Team Trump paused the new-account-approval process in the hopes of stemming the DeSantis-related tide.

Either way, it’s hard not to wonder whether the former president — the “professional at technology” — saw this coming.