The two Southern tech entrepreneurs possessed two qualities that Donald Trump’s Truth Social startup needed: tech experience in the industry and a politically conservative worldview connected with the former president, a rare combination in the liberal-leaning San Francisco tech industry.
Josh Adams and Billy Boozer, the company’s chiefs of technology and product growth, decided to join the project last year and quickly came to fame in its bid to build a social-media empire, supported by Trump’s strong brand, to counter what many conservatives see as left-wing “cancel culture” censorship. According to two main sources familiar with the company, both decided to resign their senior positions less than a year later, at a critical point in the company’s smartphone-app release plans.
- 1 Why did they leave?
- 1.1 What did Reuters find about their resignations?
- 1.2 How is TMTG funding its current growth?
- 1.3 What is Trump’s involvement?
- 1.4 What is the download rate of the Truth Social App?
- 1.5 Adams and Boozer embraced the vision for a social-media company with an “anti-cancel culture” mission
- 1.6 About Josh Adams and Billy Boozer
Why did they leave?
The departures came after the company’s iPhone app launched with problems on February 20. Many users are still on the waiting list and unable to use the platform weeks later. Former Republican congressman Devin Nunes, the CEO of Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), publicly stated that the company aimed to get the app fully functional by the end of March in the United States.
The company has an iPhone app but no Android app, even with advertising for an engineer to build one. Android phones login for more than 40% of the US market. Adams did not respond to a request for comment after Boozer declined. Requests for comment were not returned by TMTG or Trump’s representatives.
The account is based on Reuters interviews with eight people with knowledge of Truth Social’s activities, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. Truth Social is part of a growing sector of tech firms catering to conservatives and marketing themselves as free-speech champions. More than a year after being banned from Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube for reportedly provoking or glorifying violence during the protests at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the platform promised to give Trump unlimited communication with the American public.
According to two people familiar with the company, the departure of two executives critical to the app launch efforts could seriously damage the company’s progress as it tries to prove it can compete with mainstream platforms like Twitter. Trump’s platform, like Twitter, allows users to connect and share their thoughts. “All bets are off” if technology chief Adams ends up leaving, one of those sources said, making reference to him as the “brains” behind Truth Social’s technology. According to another source familiar with the project, Boozer is also involved.
What did Reuters find about their resignations?
The specific events surrounding the executives’ resignations, as well as whether they have been replaced or their roles reassigned, were unknown to Reuters. It’s also unclear whether Adams and Boozer are still involved in the company in some capacity after deciding to leave their executive positions. Their resignations came before their important roles in the heavily watched company also were made public from outside Truth Social’s Secretive culture.
According to a source familiar with the venture, Adams and Boozer worked at a level just below Wes Moss and Andy Litinsky, both former employees who lead on Trump’s hit reality TV show “The Apprentice.” Moss and Litinsky have been the company’s “senior, day-to-day leadership” since it began last summer, according to the source.
According to a source familiar with the company’s founding, the two men decided to pitch Trump on the social-media venture in January 2021. Moss and Litinsky did not respond to requests for comment, so Reuters was unable to determine their specific job titles or responsibilities. Excluding CEO Nunes, who joined in December, TMTG has released little information about its executive leadership team.
How is TMTG funding its current growth?
Another unanswerable question is how TMTG plans to fund its current development. The company is planning to go public by combining with blank-check company Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC). The Securities and Exchange Commission is going to review the deal, which is expected to take months to complete.
The SEC was investigating the deal, according to DWAC, which disclosed it in a regulatory filing last December. The SEC has not made a comment on the nature of the investigation and has yet to respond to a request for comment sent on Sunday. Investors have promised $1 billion to TMTG, but they will not transfer the funds until the DWAC transaction is completed. On a day when Twitter (TWTR.N) saw its stock rise 25% after an investment by Google, DWAC shares fell 13% after the market opened Monday by Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk.
What is Trump’s involvement?
The extent of Trump’s involvement with his namesake company and the Truth Social platform is also unknown. So far, the former president has only posted one post – or “truth” – on the platform, writing on February 14: “Prepare yourself! Soon, your favourite President will be with you!”
What is the download rate of the Truth Social App?
According to data analytics firm Sensor Tower, downloads of the Truth Social app have dropped drastically, from 866,000 the week of its launch to 60,000 the week of March 14. According to the company, the Truth Social app has been downloaded 1.2 million times in total, running down conservative rivals Parler and Gettr, which have 11.3 million and 6.8 million installations, respectively.
According to one of the sources familiar with the project, when Adams and Boozer joined the company last year, they embraced the vision for a social-media company with an “anti-cancel culture” mission. The executives were absolutely convinced about creating an “open platform,” where “you can be entitled to your own opinion as long as you don’t say anything that is criminal,” according to the source.
Reuters was unable to determine the exact date the two executives joined the company, but according to two sources familiar with the venture, they were working on the Truth Social app by the fall. Another person familiar with the company said Adams and Boozer fit the bill when the company was looking for engineers with the necessary skills and compatible politics. Hiring managers looked into candidates’ political ideas to see if they were a good fit, according to that person, in at least one case by scanning their social media profiles and listening to their appearances on podcasts.
Because of the company’s political position, it had a limited pool of candidates to choose from. According to a source familiar with the company, at least one candidate turned down a job offer because he couldn’t stand working for Trump. According to two people familiar with the firm’s recruiting efforts, those who rejected the company’s outreach expressed concern about job security and worried the company and its employees would be prime targets for hackers.
About Josh Adams and Billy Boozer
Adams came to Trump’s company after a successful career as a software developer in his home state of Alabama. According to Daring Bit Assembly’s website, he co-founded Daring Bit Assembly, a product and software development consultancy whose clients include the US Patent and Trademark Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and e-commerce startup Shipt.
According to one of the people familiar with the company’s operations, Adams is a “constitutionalist” who believes in a strict reading of the authors’ original intent for the founding document of the United States. Adams tried to sue the state’s governor, a Republican, and the state’s health officer in federal court in Alabama in May 2021, alleging that the state’s mask requirement during the coronavirus pandemic violated the US and Alabama constitutions.
In June 2021, the case was dismissed. According to the source, Boozer, a political conservative who previously lived in Alabama, had started working with Adams regularly before joining Truth Social. According to that source, with Adams in control of the app’s back-end infrastructure, Boozer brought a strong command of the front-end technology that interacts with the user.
Despite holding high-ranking positions at the closely watched project, the two kept a low profile. On their LinkedIn profiles, neither Adams nor Boozer mentions their work at Truth Social, despite having a long list of other jobs and ventures. The company did not make its hiring public. In a November investor presentation, Adams and Boozer were listed as the TMTG technology team’s chief technology officer and chief product officer, respectively, but without their last names. When Truth Social first launched, they posted frequently on the platform, but only as “Josh A.” and “Billy B.”
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