Hackers claim Trump’s social app ahead of launch
Former President Donald J. Trump said Wednesday night he would create “media power.” Its flagship operation would be Truth Social, a Twitter-like social network that “would resist the tyranny of Big Tech,” he said in a statement.
In less than two hours, hackers had gained access to a private version of the social network, creating fake accounts for Mr. Trump; far-right figure Stephen K. Bannon; Ron Watkins, the QAnon conspiracy theorist; and Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey, who kicked Mr. Trump out of Twitter after his supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan.6.
Using a fake ‘donaldjtrump’ account, hackers posted pictures of pigs defecating, wrote jubilant rants against Mr Dorsey and asked where the old first one was Lady Melania Trump. Images of the hackers’ work have been shared on other social media platforms.
In interviews Thursday, the hackers, who are affiliated with Anonymous, the free hacking collective, said the effort was part of their “online war on hate.”
After a hiatus of several years, Anonymous reappeared as a digital force against the far right. The collective recently took down a Republican Texas website after an anti-abortion bill was passed, replacing the site with a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. And last month, Anonymous was behind a breach of Epik, a popular far-right internet service company, dumping 220 gigabytes of data, including the personal data of its customers.
By exposing the guts of Truth Social ahead of its launch, the hackers demonstrated that Mr. Trump’s soon to be released social network had lax guarantees and left open the possibility of spoofing anyone, including the former president.
Mr Trump had revealed the social network on Wednesday during an online presentation as part of the Trump Media and Technology Group, which aims to tackle major social media platforms.
A representative for the Trump media company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“We had a blast dragging it up to the sky,” Aubrey Cottle, an Anonymous affiliate hacker named Kirtaner, said in an interview.
A Truth Social app was made available for “pre-order” on the Apple App Store on Wednesday, inviting anyone interested to join a waiting list for its release. The digital crumbs in that message, Mr Cottle said, were enough for him and other anonymous hackers to gain access to the preview version of the app.
Once inside, Mr Cottle said, hackers posted memes from spoofed accounts for Mr Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence and other prominent figures.
The activity forced app developers at Trump Media & Technology Group to ban new accounts and ultimately shut down the development platform. (The New York Times viewed screenshots supporting the hackers’ claims.)
The breach and its aftermath did not prevent shares in Mr. Trump’s SPAC company, Digital World Acquisition, from rising 400% to $ 52 per share on Thursday, following Wednesday’s announcement of the merger that would launch the platform. – Mr. Trump’s social media form.