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New social media platform rescues Donald Trump interview after Facebook removes it

Clouthub is wooing the former president to start his own channel after Lara Trump joins.

Updated: April 2, 2021 - 1:04pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

When Facebook and Instagram threatened to impose "additional limitations" on Lara Trump for posting her interview with her father-in-law, the former president, she didn't back down. 

The Fox News contributor and former producer for Inside Edition jumped ship for an alternative platform that only left beta testing in November.

Lara Trump's podcast "The Right View" debuted on Clouthub soon after Facebook and Instagram removed her Donald Trump interview, Clouthub CEO Jeff Brain told Just the News.

He said he received a message that Lara Trump was interested in joining the comprehensive social media platform, spoke to "her person" and created her channel in one day. 

Clouthub combines elements of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, and portrays its mission as "Social, Civic and Political Networking." It announced a slate of "brand ambassadors" including Just the News founder John Solomon in December.

The platform distinguishes itself from Big Tech competitors by promising not to "data-mine, track, or sell user data ... suppress your reach or manipulate what you get to see."

Clouthub didn't previously seek to woo Lara Trump, but "we fully intend to have Donald Trump on our platform," with its partners reaching out to the former president, Brain said. "He is a populist president and our platform is a populist platform."

Technology to host virtual Trump rallies

Eric Trump, Lara's husband and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, shared an email from Facebook Tuesday night warning that any content "in the voice of Trump" would be removed from its platforms, including Instagram.

Facebook noticed when Lara promoted her pending interview with the former president on Instagram, according to the email, apparently sent by communications manager Katelyn Brehony.

The ban applies to "former surrogates" as well as "campaign messaging vehicles," it said. Less than half an hour after that warning, the same sender notified Lara Trump's account that the Donald Trump interview had been removed, according to the message Lara posted.

Both emails implied her Facebook and Instagram accounts would be restricted, if not suspended, if Lara posted Donald Trump material again.

Clouthub promoted the Donald Trump interview Thursday morning in a reply to Eric Trump's tweet. "Tired of Big tech censorship? Join CloutHub," it said. A few hours later it teased "the interview of President Trump that every major platform has deleted."

Brain, the Clouthub CEO, said the removal of Trump's "voice" illustrated the value of his platform, which was in development for three years and initially funded by a loan he took out on his house. 

Contrary to Parler and Gab, which pitched themselves as Twitter alternatives, Clouthub has "a much bigger vision," he said. When Donald Trump used Twitter, all he could do was tweet, which was fine for the social media of 15 years ago.

But the former president could use a Clouthub channel to "mobilize" his base, in the same way that many civic groups organized on Clouthub to stop a repeat of the disputed November election, Brain added.

The platform is developing premium features that would lend themselves to Trump's activity, such as virtual conventions and rallies, Brain said. Among other features coming in the next couple months: Clubhouse-like interactive video presentations that could be used for community meetings, churches and classrooms. 

Brain emphasized that much of Clouthub's user base of 2.5 million is not political, including neighborhood groups, business organizations and faith-based institutions. Many left Facebook, Twitter and YouTube because they are "tired of the censorship now."

He recognizes the risk of being closely identified with one political side if Trump joins. Clouthub's ambassador list was heavy with figures popular on the right, and has since added Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and former administration official Michael Flynn.

But Brain believes "the left will want to use" Clouthub's tools for their own organizing, and to hear Trump's message if the former president creates his own channel. He plans to reach out to the White House to gauge President Biden's interest.

The CEO said the platform protects speech "in a very responsible way," allowing unfettered discussion "on issues" while clamping down on those who "promote hate or incite violence." It consulted with mental health professionals to come up with a "healthy" user interface, which keeps paid promotions such as local restaurant discounts out of the "discussion timeline."

Clouthub is now in a seed round to raise funding. "We're meeting a need of society in social media that's not been met," Brain said.

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