Google has approved former U.S. President Donald Trump’s social media app Truth Social for distribution in the Google Play Store, a company spokesperson said on Wednesday (Oct 13).
Trump Media & Technology Group, which operates Truth Social, is expected to make the app available in the Play Store shortly, Google said.
Truth Social, which launched in the United States in the Apple App Store in February, had not previously been available in the Play Store due to insufficient content moderation, according to a Google spokesperson in August.
Google had expressed concerns to Truth Social about violations of its Play Store policies prohibiting content like physical threats and incitement to violence.
Without the Google and Apple stores, there is no easy way for most smartphone users to download Truth Social.
Google’s Play Store is the main way users of Android phones in the United States download apps. Android users can get apps through competing stores or download them directly from a website, though it often requires extra steps and security permissions.
Truth Social has been available through those means even as Google blocked it from the Play Store. Android phones comprise about 40 per cent of the US smartphone market.
Truth Social restored Trump’s presence on social media more than a year after he was banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube following the Jan 6, 2021 US Capitol riots, after he was accused of posting messages inciting violence.
TMTG has pledged to deliver an “engaging and censorship-free experience” on Truth Social, appealing to a base that feels its views around such hot-button topics such as the outcome of the 2020 presidential election have been scrubbed from mainstream tech platforms.
Unlike on iOS, there are other distribution options available for Android apps that don’t get formal approval from Google. Google tolerates sideloading apps through other avenues and Truth Social recently offered the app as a direct download — the same strategy that fellow “free speech” app Parler previously employed to circumvent a similar situation.