An apparent rip-off of Donald Trump’s social media network Truth Social has racked up downloads in the six figures on Google’s Play Store, causing confusion by MAGA types who failed to realize the distinction.
Insider first reported that the app, which is titled “MAGA Hub — Truth Social Trump” on the Play Store, has crossed 100,000 downloads as of Tuesday. While the app itself was launched in August 2021, well before news broke that Trump was pursuing the “Truth” branding for his social network, most of the downloads appear to have been in the last few weeks. Trump Media & Technology Group recently released a beta version of Truth Social via Apple’s App Store, but it has yet to open the platform to Android users. The “MAGA Hub” app has stepped up to fill that void, appearing at the top of search results for an official release on the Play Store.
MAGA Hub, for what it’s worth, contains $28.99 in-app purchases with an unclear purpose and automatically subscribes users to a global chat group which Insider reports sends out “a constant stream of memes and messages.” The page lists as the developer a man named Lukas Neissen, who has published several other apps under the “SocialHubs” brand, including virtually identical apps for LGBT people and fans of YouTuber Jake Paul or Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. A residential address in Germany is also listed as the company’s location.
MAGA Hub promises various features for users, including that it is “End-to-end encrypted, no algorithms,” has a Stories feature, and boasts an “endless amount of content customized for you.” It also states users will be able to play the curiously titled “MAGA-Game”:
Play the game that was specially created for the MAGA community. Check out the global leaderboard, how well did you play?
Gizmodo would have loved to explore this delightful experience even further, but when we attempted to register an account on the app, it presented an error message stating that it had already exceeded the allowed number of daily email verifications. While our account was apparently created, the password we chose during the signup process didn’t work, and the account recovery feature simply returned the message “Something went wrong.” Eventually, the app randomly began displaying content from its news feed, which almost exclusively consisted of the kind of things you’d see in a QAnon channel on Telegram or a t-shirt at CPAC. An attempt to access the “Global Chat” was blessedly blocked by MAGA Hub’s inability to send a verification email.
Gizmodo reached out to the email address listed as the point of contact for MAGA Hub, as well as Trump Media & Entertainment Group, for comment. We haven’t heard back, but we’ll update this post when we do.
A quick search of commentary from users on Twitter and in the MAGA Hub app’s review section showed users complaining of technical glitches, spam, poorly implemented features, surprise billing, and that they had been tricked into downloading it in the first place. Reviews were flowing in at a steady pace throughout Tuesday. (Gizmodo could not immediately determine which of these reviews were earnest or trolls hoping to lure more Trump supporters into downloading the app.)
“Signs you out & Competely deletes profile after reviewing app. All friends/followers lost,” one reviewer on the Play Store, who gave the app one out of five stars, wrote. “Identity if True Truth Social. Crashes far too much. International needs a translate button. Prefer a choice to opt-out of chat & notifications. Needs to define option buttons on feed & help option.”
“As of yet still full of bugs with lots of loading and buffering,” another one-star reviewer added. “So far I was able to use it for 5 minutes them nothing. Hopefully it’s fixed doom as I paid for premium.”
Many users appeared to have been under the impression that MAGA Hub was the Android version of Truth Social. While as of Tuesday afternoon the vast majority of people appeared to have caught on, a number of users had seemingly missed the memo.
“Thought this was trumps new social site,” another weighed in. “It is not. Ads everywhere and possible malware. Plus you can’t delete the profile . Can’t delete the posts unless one by one. Terribly misleading info of what this app is. Not worth it or a premium membership. Deleted it.”
“I would really appreciate it Trump if you could make the video lengths much longer as I want to use my profile to be of service, and that entails to post much longer then 10 second videos,” one user pleaded to the ex-president. Another added, “Love it, love trump, love freedom of speech, love right wing news, I love unbiased information with no fact checking.”
“Thank you President Trump for everything you did and tried to accomplish for us Americans, you will forever be in my prayers and I will always support you. This is coming from a convicted felon also.. doesn’t change the facts at stake here,” one five-star reviewer posted.
Some users theorized MAGA Hub is a Democratic psyop of some kind. Others charged that, actually, Democrats were the cause of its technical problems or low reviews (which were actually surprisingly generous, averaging at just over 3 stars with over 8,000 reviews).
“Not good more likely a scam by the Democrats. All this app does is freeze my phone. I’m deleting right away. Can be a virus,” one wrote. Another added, “It’s a great change to fraudbook. My first review disappeared like many others on here has. Good ol’dem promoting Google/demorats are messing with this site. Don’t back down from these pukes!”
Then there was this guy, who loved the app except for the abundance of snuff photos in the global chat.
“This isn’t trumps app I think but it is called the same .Seems like a cool crowd except for the weirdo showing canibal serial killer corpse murder pictures in a huge list,” that user wrote.
Truth Social’s iOS launch has itself been far from spotless. While it took the number one position on the App Store, it also launched with numerous bugs ranging from irritations like eternal waitlists for new users to partial server outages and the accidental use of another company’s logo. Truth Social, like MAGA Hub, does not appear to have a browser version ready yet, although one is apparently in the works.