Friday, December 2, 2022

Donald Trump's: The Truth Social (2022)

Donald Trump's: The Truth Social (2022) 


What is ‘Truth Social’? A brand new social media platform, founded by Trump Media & Technology Group. An American media and technology company that was founded by former president, Donald J. Trump, back in October 2021. The new social media app is marketed as an app that is ‘free from political discrimination.’ The app was launched on February 21st, 2022, which happens to be president’s day. As of November 2022 the app seems to be failing already with two federal investigations taking place and possibly looking at a financially unstable future. Despite the problems, the influence of the app seems to be growing more by the day. Now Trump can be in more legal trouble due to investigations being launched as claims were made by a co-founder that the company is actually violating the federal security law. Whom, at the time was still working for the company before getting suspended from their position due to unauthorized disclosure to The Washington Post. 

This paper will analyze the Truth Social case using four ethical theories to determine whether decisions made by Trump Media & Technology Group are considered ethical or unethical. According to Individualism, the company’s actions would be seen as ethical only in the sense of raising capital to raise funds for the company to survive financially but seen as unethical for using fraudulent information and going against federal security law in order to do so. Utilitarianism would argue that the company is unethical because their actions are not bringing out any happiness for the majority but instead fear and caution amongst employees. Kantianism would argue that the company is unethical because they are not showing honesty, or respect to anyone working with or for the company. The Virtue Theory would also agree that their actions are ethical because they lack honesty, compassion, integrity, fairness, and a lot more. All four theories would consider the case unethical and this paper will show why.


On January 6th, 2021, there was an attack on the United States Capitol, by American citizens themselves all because of a tweet made by former president Donald J. Trump. Due to the riot inflicted by Trump, Twitter, a social media company, decided to place a permanent ban on Trump. This decision made by Twitter was morally just because it would ensure that Trump would no longer be able to cause more attacks but this did not stop Trump. On October 20th, 2022, Trump Media & Technology Group, a media company founded by Trump, had created an app, called “Truth Social.” This app is almost like Twitter, the purpose of this app was for Trump to regain a platform on social media that he can use to reach out and speak to his supporters and finally on February 21st, 2022 (president’s day) the app was officially launched. 

The app ended up becoming a big hit, fast, but despite the growth would it be able to keep up financially? In October 2022, now former Trump Media executive, William Wilkerson was fired due to a public whistle-blower complaint he had filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and after he spoke with The Post. Wilkerson made claims that Trump Media has violated federal security law, are lying to their investors, and that Trump “...asked one executive to relinquish his shares in the company to former First Lady Melania Trump and had him removed from the board of directors when he refused.” (Katersky, 2022). The whistleblower complaint with the SEC was filed back in August of this year but Wilkerson had more to say than just the dishonesty of Trump Media. Wilkerson said that within the company there were technical problems, chaotic jockeying over power, and bitter infighting to the point where employees would be left crying at their desks. In one article it says that, “The complaint, drafted by Wilkerson’s attorneys, alleges that the company’s bid to raise money via an investment vehicle known as a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, relied on “fraudulent misrepresentations … in violation of federal securities laws.” (Harwell, 2022). Meaning Trump Media was trying to raise money to go public with the hopes of finding a merger to keep finances going to keep the app alive while being dishonest with investors. And the The Securities Act of 1933 saying that the company must be registered with the SEC and complete information about the seller and the stock offering is made available to investors. 

Despite any mergers that Truth Social goes through, Trump has the intention of remaining as chairman of Trump Media. But Truth Social seems to be run by former Republican officemen, marketed by Republicans and even raised $37 million, mainly from Republican donors for example, “Devin Nunes, a former Republican congressman from California, is the chief executive of Trump Media, which recently moved its corporate office to Sarasota, Fla” (Goldstein, 2022). The app seems very Republican, which makes sense knowing that Trump is a Republican who will do whatever in his power to speak his mind and regain position as president once again. 

    When the whistle-blower complaint was made, Wilkerson was still working as an executive for Trump Media but after the complaint and claims went public, “A Trump Media attorney sent Wilkerson a letter that night suspending him for what the lawyer said was a “blatant violation” of his nondisclosure agreement.” (Harwell, 2022). Wilkerson also claimed that he was getting threatened so he could no longer stay quiet which led him to carry out this complaint. In order to keep the app running, a deal was made with Digital World but if this deal fails then Trump Media would have to consider merging with Rumble, a video-sharing alternative of Youtube, who also happens to be Trump Media’s biggest business partner. But Wilkerson claims that half of the people working at Trump Media’s office in Sarasota, FL, are already Rumble employees. 

Despite how popular Trump claims his app to be, it may not be enough to help it get through legal and financial trouble. Investigations are still going on to look into anything that Trump Media may be doing unlawfully and the popularity of Truth Social won’t be enough to save it from what results come out from it. Knowing previous actions of Trump, any findings could ultimately be blamed on former employees and or the Democratic party. 


Digital World Acquisition Corp. is the main stakeholder for Truth Social, they have a 1.3 billion cash infusion for Trump Media that is currently on hold due to recent investigations and controversies on the company. If the deal fails then Trump Media will rely on other stakeholders which are Republican political donors, an unnamed group that donated money, and employees of Trump Media. They don’t have many shareholders because of the app only being out for a couple of months but with controversies and investigations coming out so soon, Trump Media doesn’t have other investors to keep the financial status of Truth Social to keep going. 


In the sense of trying to maximize profit for the business, the Individualism theory would say that Trump Media is ethical but since they are allegedly being dishonest to investors and violate security laws it would be seen as unethical. The only reason why they would be doing so to increase finances is because Trump relies on the Truth Social app to speak out on political issues. But the possible profit was put on hold because of the investigations held out. Individualism would say that it is unethical because Trump Media is violating the law in the aspect of not sharing complete information with their investors, which isn’t just a violation of law but being dishonest with them as well. Trump Media would only have to hide information with investors if they knew investors would back out because of said information. But since Trump Media isn’t receiving maximum profit and isn’t trying to retrieve profit in a lawful, and honest manner then it goes against Individualism in all forms. 


The Utilitarianism theory relies on the happiness of the majority, meaning if the majority is happy and is benefiting off of the decisions of Trump Media then it would be considered ethical but it does not bring any form of happiness or benefit to anyone. This is because when the app first launched it brought happiness to Trump Media and Trump supporters but within the months that the app was out, executives have been fired, threatened, resigned, or spoke out about issues within the company. A complaint was filed leading to investigation, which wouldn’t benefit anybody because investors will draw back from the company and the company would be under major stress. Employees were let go for unfair reasons such as refusing to give up shares upon request or because they spoke out against the company. A former executive even said that people would be competitive against each other within the company and that wouldn’t make it a healthy workplace for any one. Saying that people would compete for power, rivalries against one another, and that employees would even tend to get emotional in their workspaces. So it would go against Utilitarianism because there really is no real benefit for anyone. You need a healthy environment to maintain a healthy business. Firing employees because they don’t agree with you isn’t beneficial to anyone. Having rivalries in the workplace isn’t healthy either and it doesn’t provide any form of happiness to anyone. Whether they are satisfied with having power or not doesn't mean it brings happiness. Ultimately the goal of the Truth Social app was to benefit Trump or anyone that wants to “speak freely on political issues”. But at the end of the day it just seemed like if it didn’t make the chairman happy then he’ll do what he has to just to make sure that he is. When financial issues were brought up the only thing that he seemed to care about was the fact that the app was popular and that he had hopes for it to grow more than it already is. Which he is happy with and other problems he wasn’t worried about. With how things were going on only one person was happy and only one person thought there were benefitting and that would be Trump.


The Kantianism Theory relies on honesty and respect for the company and anyone that works for the company but Trump Media seems to lack the ability to be honest with their investors due to claims. Nor does it seem to show respect towards employees if a former employee feels the need to speak out against the company because of being threatened and being aware of all wrongs being done by the company. You cannot respect someone that you are not honest with so after investigations if it comes out that Trump Media in fact has been dishonest with shareholders then it would be against Kantianism but not only for the dishonesty but surely investors would be left being disrespected from being kept from any kind of information that could have been used in any kind of decision they wanted to make. Trump also lacks to show respect for another former employee. Who was asked to give up shares to Trump’s wife, his answer was no resulting in his being stripped of his position in the board of directors. Meaning his answer was not respected and action was taken immediately. Back in January 2021, Trump also failed to show respect to the capitol and agreements of twitter due to sending out tweets causing a riot and the attack. It wouldn’t be the first time that Trump acted unethically and didn’t take any responsibility for it and it sadly may not be the last. People were hurt, killed, and a government building was almost overrun. In the case of being the reason why a horrible event took place and still worrying about needing a social media platform is straight up selfish. 


The Virtue Theory relies on many aspects, honesty, courage, compassion, generosity, fidelity, integrity, fairness, self-control, and prudence being examples of virtues. It is fair to say that Trump Media lacked all the qualities listed here if all claims made turn out to be true. I have already discussed before that if it comes out that Trump Media was dishonest and hiding information from investors then they’re already being unethical in most of the theories. There was no compassion apparently shown to any employees that may have felt under distress for any issues that were taking place within the company. You can’t have a healthy business if you don’t have healthy employees or healthy relationships with employees, investors, etc. If they failed to have compassion then they also failed in having generosity and fairness. Which would be shown when an executive was asked to give up shares, if you ask and you’re given an answer that you don’t like doesn’t mean you are in the right for “getting rid of the problem.” Suspending them from their job isn’t fair just because they gave you an answer that you didn’t like, every involved person has the right to make their own decision. You can’t fire an employee for an unjust reason but that’s what a company doesn’t want to talk about or even comment about when it comes out in public. Part of integrity is honesty which wasn’t shown but having strong moral principles is part as well and if the company lacks those components then they don’t have moral principles. Your moral principles wouldn’t involve violating a law or making people feel stressed. Overall Trump Media’s controversy violated main aspects of the Virtue Theory which would make it unethical.


Although the controversy is still taking place because of ongoing investigation, a decision on whether the case is ethical or unethical can on be based on what is known. For all the claims that were made by Wilkerson, everything that was done by Trump Media and by Trump himself was all unethical. If it comes out to be true then no one can be blamed except for him being selfish. Not necessarily selfish in the terms of wanting money but just wanting a platform. Trump ultimately has one goal and that is to be president again and he used Twitter to make it clear that he had clear intentions to run away and made it clear that he does not care what he says or does and if it’s right or wrong because if it is right to him then that's all that matters. So if all claims come back as true then it wouldn’t be a shock because I personally don’t think he has ever been an ethical human being who has had moral principles. Any time there had been any sort of controversy against he would never take the blame but blame his rivals. You can’t expect a person like that to be ethical at all. If being dishonest, violating laws, firing anyone in the way, or hiding information was what he thought he had to do just to keep a platform that he can run then there’s just no way that can be ethical because the only thing that really shows is selfishness. If a certain tweet back in 2021 wasn’t posted then that attack would have been prevented and possibly so would the ban on Twitter. But being power hungry meant doing whatever to make sure you can keep that power even if it means constant legal trouble. The whole act is just unethical. 


Overall from all the articles I’ve read, it just seems like everyone is blaming Trump for the downfall of his own app already because it’s only been a couple months since the launch and it’s already looking like it will fail financially. And now there are investigations ongoing which isn’t a good sign if you’ve only had it around for a couple of months. Personally I think that he is very power hungry and I think that the claims will come back true only because of all past issues that have revolved around him since he ran for office the first time up until this day. I personally don’t think he is or ever was an ethical person so it’s just looking like everything that he has to deal with is because of him. A lot of troubles and issues could have been avoided if the right actions were taken but if you take the wrong path, take the wrong actions then always ends up coming back around and failing on the one that started it. 


 Goldstein, Matthew. “Trump's Social Network Deal Is under Grand Jury Scrutiny.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 27 June 2022, 

Harwell, Drew. “Co-Founder of Trump's Media Company Details Truth Social's Bitter Infighting.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 16 Oct. 2022, 

Harwell, Drew. “Truth Social Faces Financial Peril as Worry about Trump's Future Grows.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 27 Aug. 2022, 

Makhani, Nina. “Trouble for Trump's Truth Social as Investors Back Away from Cash Boost.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 6 Sept. 2022, 

McCluskey, Megan. “The Fate of Trump's Truth Social Hangs in Balance.” Time, Time, 11 Oct. 2022, 

McCluskey, Megan. “What Truth Social's Financial Problems Mean for Its Future.” Time, Time, 31 Aug. 2022, 

Thompson, Stuart A., and Matthew Goldstein. “Truth Social's Influence Grows despite Its Business Problems.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Nov. 2022,

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