EXCLUSIVE: When TRUTH Social launches later this quarter, the Trump Media & Technology Group social media platform will already have stringent content moderation practices in place to ensure it is a "family-friendly" online community, company CEO Devin Nunes told Fox Business.
Both Nunes and former President Donald Trump separately have told Fox Business that TRUTH Social is expected to be up and running by the end of the first quarter of 2022. Nunes told Fox Business that the company is on track.
But those involved in the final stages of the platform’s development told Fox Business that they anticipate that malign actors will target the site and attempt to "flood" the platform with "illegal content," especially during and immediately after their formal launch.
Fox Business has learned that TMTG is partnering with Hive—a San Francisco-based Series D start-up that provides automated solutions through cloud-based artificial intelligence for understanding images, videos, and text content. Hive’s technology provides automated content moderation across video, image, text and audio.
"We want to be very family-friendly, we want this to be a very safe place, and we are focused on making sure any illegal content is not on the site," Nunes said in an exclusive interview with Fox Business.
"Hive has a great track record in this, and they have been good to work with," Nunes continued. "They are very helpful for our team and because of their experience, I think they’re helping to craft the right spot for us."
He added: "We want to be the most family-friendly site."
Hive co-founder and CEO Kevin Guo told Fox Business that his company’s AI model will be used for TRUTH Social to offer content moderation for posts to ensure sexually-explicit content, and posts that include violence, bullying, hate speech, and spam never make it to the platform.
"TMTG really has been proactive," Guo told Fox Business. "For them, moderation has always been core. They have been very thoughtful about this."
Hive was integral in helping conservative social media platform Parler to develop their content moderation practices in order to be reinstated into Apple’s App Store following the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
Hive also has dozens of other clients, including Reddit, Giphy, Yik Yak, OnlyFans, Omegle, Josh, IRL, Yubo, Tango, and more.
"Our stance, unlike other companies, we, by definition, are doing a net positive," Guo said. "I don’t care who you are, if you want to make your community a safer place, you should be given the tools to do so."
When asked about working with clients that some deem controversial, Guo said that there "are a few things where we should probably put aside our differences and just agree that we need to solve this problem."
"We commit ourselves to being a very neutral ground in that sense," Guo said "If a partner wants to use us, and we think they are doing a good job, using our models well, and putting in good-faith moderation, we’re going to keep supporting them, no matter what the external pressures may be."
Guo said Hive has been working with TMTG for "many months already."
"From the very beginning of product design, they have had moderation as a core concept that they’ve been building around, so, our integration with them certainly is not one they have put in last minute, or after the fact," Guo said. "They have been very thoughtful and very proactive with this, and when they launch, moderation will be fully in place on day one."
Guo said Hive’s technology has the ability to identify content like "nudity, drugs, violence, hate speech, spam and bullying."
"This is not political," he said. "These are not things that are left or right or have any political baggage," Guo said. "When you think about these bigger companies, what they have put in place around things like misinformation, what they deem that to be, for instance, that’s their prerogative."
He added: "Our moderation is based on these core concepts that, we think, are universal."
Guo said TRUTH Social’s moderation approach is centered around Hive’s core concepts, and said they want to "make sure" they can "identify this type of content and proactively prevent it from reaching their users."
"They are not doing things like trying to censor any political talk—we don’t have models for that or models for misinformation," he said. "We focus on a problem that is more objective."
Nunes doubled down on that point, reminding that TRUTH Social will be "open for all ideas, all political debate from the left to the right."
"We’re not going to censor anybody because they have a different opinion about, for example, a COVID vaccine," Nunes said. "That is what the open internet is all about—it should be for the free flow of debate and ideas all over the globe, so that people can learn from one another and debate with one another."
Nunes added: "And society should be better for it if it is working properly."
The topic of content moderation has come under scrutiny from critics on the right, who have argued that tech giants should no longer benefit from protections of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act if they censor conservative viewpoints.
The section has been pivotal in the rise of today's social media giants by allowing not only Internet service providers – but also Google, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and others –to be shielded from liability from content posted on their platforms by third parties, in most cases.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act currently states that "no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."
Nunes, who was a critic of Big Tech during his time representing California’s 22nd congressional district, was asked for his view of Section 230 now that he is the CEO of a media company.
"It is the law of the land," Nunes said. "Clearly, in the past, I’d express my frustration with it—mainly, at what point does a website or a tech company become a publisher?"
Nunes criticized big tech companies like Twitter, Facebook, Google and Instagram, saying that they "have become editors," and also criticized them for "selectively enforcing their terms of service."
"The bottom line is that any changes that would be made to Section 230 in the future, we’re not at all worried about because we’re not going to be in that kind of business," Nunes said.
As for TRUTH Social’s content moderation, Nunes said that their efforts are "all about protecting the customer and the user."
"We want people to have a good experience on the platform, and they are not going to have a good experience if there is illegal activity on the platform, so that is the real necessity for this," Nunes said.
"We’re eyes wide-opened here," Nunes said.
Nunes joined TMTG as CEO in December, after retiring from nearly two decades of serving in the House of Representatives.
Trump Media & Technology Group first launched in October. The company said last month that the partner has agreements for $1 billion in capital from institutional investors.
TMTG's plan is to become a publicly listed company through a merger with the publicly traded Digital World Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company whose sole purpose is to acquire a private company and take it public.
TRUTH Social, while not yet public, is available for pre-order in the App Store.