Google approves Truth Social for Play Store

Illustration of the Trump Social app askew and with a question mark

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Google has approved Donald Trump’s Twitter-like social media app Truth Social for distribution in the Google Play Store, Axios has learned.

Why does it matter: Nearly half of US smartphone users rely on Google’s Android operating system, and the Google Play Store is the primary way Android users can access – and download – apps to their phones.

Catch up quick: Google and Truth Social have been in touch for months about the approval status for Truth Social.

  • A Google spokesperson told Axios in late August that they first notified Truth Social about several violations of standard policies in their app submission that barred it from approval on August 19.
  • Truth Social has been working to update its policies in the time since, which is what has ultimately led to its approval in the app store.

Details: All apps on Google Play that feature user-generated content are required to have robust content moderation policies that prevent not just illegal content, but content that incites violence or is considered hate speech.

  • They also provide an in-app system for users to report violative content and must be willing to enforce its content moderation standards.
  • As a part of the agreement to be allowed in the Google Play Store, Truth Social had to commit to enforcing its own website policies that forbid things like inciting violence, Google said.
  • “Apps may be distributed on Google Play provided they comply with our developer guidelines, including the requirement to effectively moderate user-generated content and remove objectionable posts such as those that incite violence,” a Google spokesperson noted.

Between the lines: Truth Social was able to find a few workarounds that made its app available to Android users while the app was blocked in the Play Store.

  • In the past few weeks it made a side-loaded version of the app available to Android users for download from its website.
  • It also made itself available for download in the Samsung Galaxy Store.

The big picture: Truth Social’s distribution challenges have occurred amid a slew of broader financial and legal issues.

What’s next: It’s up to Truth Social to decide ultimately when it wants to publish its app in the App Store now that it’s been approved, but they are expected to make it available shortly.

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