The former president’s fortune dropped from an estimated $3.2 billion last fall to $2.5 billion today. The biggest reason? His social media business, once hyped to the moon, has come crashing down, erasing $550 million from his net worth—so far.
InOctober 2021, Donald Trump was eager for revenge. Nine months earlier he had been banned from Twitter, depriving him of his primary means of communicating with his followers. His solution? Build his own Twitter. Dubbed Truth Social, it had the potential to boost Trump’s fortune by billions. As soon as he announced the plan, supporters piled into Truth Social’s special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Shares of the SPAC, Digital World Acquisition Corp., shot up from $10 to $175 in two days, implying that the business was worth $22 billion, his interest amounting to $19 billion.
The hype never lined up with reality. In December 2021, a group of big-money investors promised to inject $1 billion in cash into the venture—but only if they got a sweetheart deal. By that point, shares were trading for $45 on the open market. But under the agreement, the new investors would be guaranteed a profit as long as the shares stayed above $10. When previously estimating the value of Trump’s stake, Forbes used that $10-per-share figure and came to $730 million.
But things have changed. Even Trump’s die-hard fans are not as excited by Truth Social as they once were. The Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission and Financial Regulatory Agency are all examining the venture, looking at things such as trading activity and communications between the SPAC and Trump’s business. Meanwhile, the SPAC, which fired its chief executive last month, only has until September 8 to complete the merger. Further complicating matters, Elon Musk bought Twitter in October, and promptly reversed the ban on Trump and other right-wing figures. That undermined the case that the world needed a more conservative version of Twitter. Today, shares of Trump’s SPAC are 92% off their highs, trading at $14 apiece, a level that suggests the former president’s business is worth $1.2 billion.
That still seems absurdly high. The fundamental problem is that barely anyone uses Truth Social. Before it launched, an investor presentation suggested the app would attract 81 million users by 2026. Now, over a year after going live, it has only an estimated 5 million. Given that Trump owns roughly 85% of the business and Twitter is worth an estimated $42 per user, the former president’s stake probably adds up to about $180 million today. The drop helped push him 205 spots lower on the 2023 World’s Billionaires list, to No. 1,217.
Even that might be too high. Truth Social is adding an estimated 100,000 users per month. If people continue to join at the current pace—and assuming that no one quits or dies—Truth Social will not hit its projected 81 million users until 2086. By that point, Trump would be 140 years old. A more likely outcome: Truth Social will join Trump Steaks, Trump University and GoTrump.com in the graveyard of failed Trump ventures.