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Trump’s Truth Social Is Going Public

Former president Donald Trump’s Truth Social, a shameless Twitter clone, is set to become a publicly traded company as soon as next week.

Shareholders of Digital World Acquisition Corp. voted on Friday to merge with Trump Media and Technology Group, the company behind Truth Social. The vote is a culmination of a years-long saga attempting to merge Trump Media with a publicly traded company in what’s known as a SPAC deal. The company will trade under the ticker DJT once it goes public.

On Rumble, more than 2,000 people watched a man dressed in a Jack Sparrow costume narrate the shareholder meeting in a livestream. After the vote passed, the chat erupted. “THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!” read one comment from an account called CanAmPatriot17.

The vote could grant Trump a substantial windfall of almost $3.5 billion dollars in shares of the company, of which Trump owns about 60 percent. Digital World Acquisition’s stock price jumped about 4 percent following news of the vote.

This possible fortune couldn’t come at a better time for the former president. Trump is struggling to put up cash to cover a $454 million judgment against him in the state of New York as part of a civil fraud case. Trump also owes $83 million to E. Jean Carroll, as a result of a January judgment in a defamation lawsuit regarding a previous jury’s findings that Trump sexually abused Carroll in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the 1990s. Trump’s posts on Truth Social were used as evidence in the January case.

As part of Trump’s agreement with the company, he must wait around six months before selling any shares. (Trump claimed on Truth Social this morning that he now has nearly $500 million in cash.)

Truth Social looks nearly identical to Twitter, with some key distinctions. Instead of “tweeting,” users post a “truth.” A “retweet” is called a “retruth.” Unlike many right-wing Twitter clones, the site functions well, has remained mostly online, and actually appears to have a somewhat active user base. But since launching in February 2022, after Trump was kicked off of mainstream platforms for inciting violence during the January 6 riot at the Capitol, the company has been mired in controversy.

The site is exactly what one might expect from a Trump-inspired social network. Groups dedicated to QAnon, election deniers, and other conspiracies are easy to find.

And in October 2022, Will Wilkerson, one of Trump Media’s senior employees, filed a whistleblower complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission, claiming that the company had made “fraudulent representations” in violation of federal securities laws. Wilkerson was fired shortly after filing the complaint. The SEC eventually approved the merger proposal in February.

Trump Media’s cofounders, Andy Litinsky and Wes Moss, sued Trump Media in February, saying the company devised a scheme to dilute their shares. The two men, who are both former Apprentice contestants and shareholders in the company, said that the company needed to abide by a 2021 agreement that granted them the ability to appoint directors to the company’s board and other financial incentives.

The company has become a meme stock, where its performance seems tied more to Trump’s political prospects than the actual financial performance of the company. The price of the stock could change dramatically before Trump has a chance to cash out.

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