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Truth Social App to Remain in Android Limbo Over Content Moderation Concerns, Report Says

Google reportedly contacted Trump's Truth Social earlier this month, saying it violated several standard policies.

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Screenshot by Queenie Wong/CNET

Truth Social, Donald Trump's social media network, is facing difficulty getting approval from Google to distribute its Android app on the Play Store, because of what Google says is insufficient content moderation.

Google contacted Truth Social on Aug. 19, telling the Trump Media & Technology Group, or TMTG, that the app violated several standard policies and reiterating the need for effective moderation of user-generated content. 

"Last week, Truth Social wrote back acknowledging our feedback and saying that they are working on addressing these issues," a Google spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday.

An unidentified source told Axios that Google is also concerned about content relating to "physical threats and incitement of violence."

TMTG didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Google did note that the Play Store isn't the only way for TMTG to distribute the Truth Social app on Android. Developers can offer apps through other app stores or allow users to download it off a website directly. Searching for Truth Social on the Play Store does give people the option to "pre-register" the app for if or when it does become available for download. 

Trump was kicked off social media following the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the US Capitol. A few days later, right-wing social media app Parler was banned from the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store over allegations that people were using Parler as an online meeting ground prior to the riot. "We do not condone or accept violence on our platform and we never will," Parler said at the time.

TMTG says it's facing a double standard when compared with other apps on the Play Store. "Some of our competitors' apps are allowed in the Google Play Store despite rampantly violating Google's prohibition on sexual content and other policies, whereas Truth Social has zero tolerance for sexually explicit content," TMTG said in a press release Tuesday.

TMTG also says it's been working with Google in good faith to ensure that Truth Social complies with Google's policies, and it called its content moderation "the most robust in the industry."

Truth Social, which launched in February, is reportedly strapped for cash and owes its online host, RightForge, $1.6 million. The social network is also reportedly having difficulty finding new users. Considering that Android accounts for 44% of the mobile operating system market share in the US, Truth Social's user expansion has likely been hurt by the app's absence from the platform. Truth Social has been available on the Apple App Store since February. The app saw an uptick in downloads on iOS following the FBI search of the former president's Mar-a-Lago residence earlier this month.

Correction, 2:30 p.m. PT: An earlier version of this story misstated when Truth Social launched. It launched in February.