Former President Donald Trump’s new social media company is under investigation from the federal government.
Trump revealed in October that he would take Trump Media & Technology Group and TRUTH Social, his new social media platform, public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger. However, according to CNBC, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is requesting information “regarding stock trading and communications with Trump’s firm before the deal was announced.”
The investigations by the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority were disclosed in an 8-K filing with the SEC by Digital World Acquisition Corp., the special purpose acquisition company on track to merge with Trump Media & Technology Group…
The filing comes just two days after Trump Media & Technology Group and DWAC said the SPAC had reached agreements to obtain $1 billion in committed capital from a “diverse group of institutional investors” to be received when the merger is consummated. The identities of those investors in that so-called PIPE, or private investment in public equity, were not publicly disclosed.
DWAC’s stock price fell by 3% after the filing.
In a statement released along with his October announcement, Trump explained that he launched Trump Media & Technology Group to “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech.”
“We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced,” he said. “This is unacceptable. I am excited to send out my first TRUTH on TRUTH Social very soon.”
“TMTG was founded with a mission to give a voice to all,” he continued. “I’m excited to soon begin sharing my thoughts on TRUTH Social and to fight back against Big Tech. Everyone asks me why doesn’t someone stand up to Big Tech? Well, we will be soon!”
The launch of Trump’s venture is one of many recent disruptions in the social media space.
Last week, longtime Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that he would step down from his position, which was immediately filled by Twitter CTO Parag Agrawal. The next day, Twitter revealed that it would restrict sharing videos and photos without the consent of the person depicted.
Agrawal has formerly voiced a willingness to use Twitter’s power to practice viewpoint discrimination. Agrawal told MIT Technology Review last year that Twitter does not need to be “bound by the First Amendment” and that discourse on the platform should be policed in a way that reflects “how the times have changed.”
Rumble, another free speech social media network, is also poised to go public. According to CEO Chris Pavlovski, the firm will be listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker CFVI after a SPAC merger.
“Rumble is creating the rails to a new infrastructure that will not be bullied by cancel culture.” Pavlovski said. “We are a movement that does not stifle, censor, or punish creativity and freedom of expression. We believe everyone benefits when they have access to more ideas and diverse opinions.”
He added, “Being a public company will allow the people that believe in our mission to invest and join us as we seek to restore a free and open internet.”