Donald Trump’s social media app “Truth Social” in Apple’s App Store on an iPhone.
Christoph Dernbach | Picture Alliance | Getty Images
Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp., the shell company set to take Trump Media and Technology Group public, surged after former President Donald Trump’s Truth Social social media platform was allowed on the Google Play Store Wednesday.
Shares of DWAC were up more than 18% Thursday. Nasdaq paused trading of DWAC for about five minutes Thursday morning during the jump.
The change means that the app is now available on the app store for the 44% of smartphone users in the United States who have an Android device. Android users could previously access the platform through their web browser or through “side-loading” the application through the Truth Social website.
The app had previously been barred from the Google Play Store for violating Google’s guidelines for moderating user-generated content.
“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 spokesman said Wednesday.
Truth Social agreed to enforce content moderation and to remove and block users who publish posts that incite violence, according to Google.
The platform was founded by Trump after he was banned from Twitter in January 2021 “due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” after hundreds of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol.
Shares of DWAC fell in early October when Elon Musk said he would buy Twitter. The billionaire has previously said that he would reinstate Trump’s account. The former president had over 80 million followers on Twitter, but he has only around 4 million on Truth Social.
Investors have cited these anemic numbers among their reasons for pulling funding from the DWAC-Trump Media merger. The company lost $138 million of its $1 billion private investment after a key deadline passed in September.
DWAC is currently pushing to extend the deadline for the merger, which is currently set for Dec. 8. The company needs 65% of shareholders to approve a yearlong extension, but it has thus far failed to get adequate support. Without the extension or the completion of the merger, DWAC would liquidate Dec. 8. The shareholder vote has been delayed until Nov. 3.
The deal is also the subject of a Justice Department probe into possible securities violations relating to undisclosed discussions between the companies prior to the merger announcement. A whistleblower and founder of Trump Media and Technology Group, Wiliam Wilkerson, flagged the potential violations to the SEC.
“One way or another, this company is going to go bankrupt,” Wilkerson recently told the Miami Herald. “I don’t think the company is going to be approved by the SEC.”
Trump Media has said the company is exploring legal action against the SEC for delaying the deal.