Former US president Donald Trump’s social media app, that he hopes will rival Twitter, has launched.
Mr Trump is seeking a new digital stage to rally his supporters and fight Big Tech limits on speech a year after he was banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
His Truth Social app was offered for download from the Apple App Store to a limited number of subscribers who had pre-ordered, with others added to a waiting list to be given access over the next 10 days.
The site encountered technical glitches shortly after launch, with reports that subscribers were shut out for hours. Others had trouble signing on.
The site is not expected to be open to anyone who wants to download it until next month.
“Due to massive demand, we have placed you on our waitlist,” read a message to some of those trying to access the platform.
Mr Trump is hoping Truth Social will attract the millions who followed him on Twitter as he hints at a third presidential run, triggering a wave of other subscribers to justify the billions of dollars that investors have bet on the venture.
Shares in a company that plans to buy Trump Media and Technology Group, the parent of Truth Social, have soared in recent months.
According to Apple’s rankings, Truth Social was the top free app in the US on Monday morning, beating the Talking Ben the Dog children’s game, streaming service HBO Max, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.
The partial launch on Monday follows an experimental “beta” launch to test the platform last week.
Mr Trump was banned from top social media platforms following the Capitol riot on January 6 last year that critics accused him of inciting.
The ban has raised difficult questions about free speech in a social media industry dominated by a few tech giants, an issue that Mr Trump and conservative media have seized upon.
Mr Trump is hoping to tap into outrage over the social media bans to attract a broad audience to keep the stock rising – and possibly hand him hundreds of millions of dollars personally – but he faces significant challenges.
None of the alternative messaging platforms already open to public, such as Gettr and Parler, have been able to move beyond an echo chamber of conservative political commentary.