A mysterious social media app appears to be luring people over $ 4.99 per week to access the app while claiming Donald Trump is on the platform.
The ex-president has now hit the company with a cease and desist letter, The Post has learned. The letter demands that the app stop using the image of President Trump.
The app, called 2nd1st, is available on the Apple App Store and advertises itself as a place of “uncensored news and discussion”.
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In addition to Trump, the app features profiles of conservative figures like Republicans Marsha Blackburn and Rand Paul, as well as former “The View” host Meghan McCain.
It is not clear whether any of these people are actually using the platform. After The Post contacted a source close to Trump for this story, lawyers for the ex-president’s team sent the cease and desist letter.
The 2nd1st listing on Apple’s App Store highlights a screenshot of a fake message from Trump. This is actually a cut-and-paste version of a tweet from January 8 in which Trump said – on Twitter, not on 2nd1st – that the people who voted for him “will have a GIANT VOICE in the future” .
The tweet was quoted by Twitter in his blog post explaining why he banned Trump for allegedly inciting violence.
The app also has a profile page for Trump with dozens of other posts – although ex-President Liz Harrington’s spokeswoman confirmed to The Post that he does not use the platform.
Donald Trump is not the only leading conservative with a profile on the app.
Since Trump was kicked from mainstream social media in January, a list of free speech-focused platforms has sprouted in an attempt to woo the president and his millions of followers.
Gettr, a Twitter alternative run by former Trump adviser Jason Miller, is pushing for the ex-president to join the platform, including offering him equity capital. Another free speech app, Speak, also wooed Trump.
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But while Trump has so far refused to join any other new social media platform, 2nd1st shows companies are looking to fill the void in his absence from Facebook and Twitter.
When users download 2nd1st, they see videos of the Trump rallies and are encouraged to purchase expensive subscriptions that renew automatically every week.
“We must not give in to advertisers or cancel the culture,” reads the home screen of the 2nd1st app. “Start the 3-day free trial, then $ 4.99 / week.”
Other users were billed $ 9.99 per week or more, according to listings on the App Store.
Apple doesn’t disclose how much money the apps make through its store, but 2nd1st currently has 2,800 reviews on the App Store. As a conservative estimate, if the 2,800 reviewers spent more than $ 4.99 per week, 2nd1st would earn approximately $ 728,000 per year.
2nd1st is rated 4.4 out of 5 stars on the App Store. But some people’s reviews complain about the automatic chargeback of payments – and the cost of the service.
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âI hate this app and want it gone forever,â complained one reviewer.
“The owner is just using the current situation to try to make some moneyâ¦ you are as bad as Pelosi !!!” anger another.
In the cease and desist letter sent by Trump’s team to 2nd1st, lawyers for the ex-president accused the app of violating “numerous federal and state laws governing hijacking and the right to publicity, “according to a copy of the letter shared with The Poster.
âSpecifically, it appears that the 2nd1st candidacy profile includes images implying that President Donald J. Trump is using or otherwise approving the candidacy, which he does not,â attorney Nathan D. Groth wrote. “2nd1st’s unauthorized use of the name, image and likeness of President Donald J. Trump is likely to lead individuals to believe that President Trump authorized, sponsored or approved such a request, which He did not do it.”
The letter was sent on September 30 and gave the company two days to “resolve this matter informally.” He threatened to take further “legal action” if necessary. On Tuesday, Trump’s image and profile remained on 2nd1st. Trump’s team appears to have taken no further action.
While 2nd1st appears to have raked in thousands of dollars from grieved Tories, it’s unclear exactly who is pocketing the money.
The 2nd1st app store page says it’s published by a company called Howly Inc., whose U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records are based in Wichita, Kansas.
Documents the company filed with the Kansas Secretary of State indicate a registered agent at a Wichita address. It looks like it’s a mall with a Dunkin ‘Donuts, SuperCuts, and PostNet shipping center. It seems likely that the company is using a registered agent service that uses a mailbox at the dispatch center as its official address.
The State registers with the articles of association of the company the list of a “Shyam Sawant” as a director of the company, which was founded in May 2019.
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Buzzfile, a company information database, also lists Howly’s address as the Wichita Mall. It states that the CEO of the company is “Shaym Sawant” and lists a phone number with a New York area code.
Calls to the number were not answered and public records pulled by The Post indicate that no one by the name of Shyam Sawant lives in the United States. However, there are over 30 LinkedIn profiles for people in India named Shayam Sawant. None mention Howly, so it’s unclear if any of the people are related to the company.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment on whether 2nd1st violates company rules.