Twitter deleted some 70,000 accounts linked to conspiracy theory QAnon on Monday evening. The social network blocked President Donald Trump’s account earlier this week. And then Parler also went offline. But censorship doesn’t stop the alt-right, there are plenty of alternatives.
You no doubt followed: Twitter unceremoniously threw Donald Trump off the site after a speech encouraging an attack on the Capitol. Five people were killed. Now Twitter is conducting a further purge: as many as 70,000 QAnon supporters’ accounts have been removed. Meanwhile, Trump is considering his own site.
Censorship and fake news on social media
Censorship on the major social media channels, it’s a complicated discussion. But it is clear that the screws are being tightened. Until just about a year ago, Facebook was still allowed to deny the Holocaust, but now videos questioning vaccines are being removed. Whether you are for it or against it does not matter. The evolution is clear.
Especially on the alt-right side there is a lot of protest. That may or may not be heard, because many alt-righters feel censored. Not only on Twitter or Facebook, but also on YouTube. But in addition to a megaphone, a channel on, say, YouTube is of course also a revenue model. Those hundreds of thousands of followers each bring in Euro cents. So just disappearing to another channel does not work.
Parler: The Trump Site Without Trump
So censored groups are always looking for other ways, through the usual channels, to convince followers to listen to their more extreme messages elsewhere. For example, there was Parler, where Trump supporters gathered when the first labels appeared on his tweets.
Parler is now, temporarily, offline. The site where “everything is allowed and none fake news exists ”, has to look for a new host after Amazon decided to discontinue the service. The company may find it at Epik, where other maligned websites have their home. The site will probably be available again at the end of this week.
In the first instance, that may mean that Parler will gain a lot of followers. But often it is only a relatively small group. And that is where the shoe pinches. There are still examples of alt-right sites that try to take the gauntlet against the Facebooks of this world. With varying degrees of success.
Well-known alternative sites and apps
- Parler: The most downloaded app in November 2020 in the United States. Home to the Trump supporters, although the president himself does not care about it. Amassed 4 million active members in barely three years, so now temporarily offline. Read all about it here.
- Gab: Popular with the extreme right. Has existed since 2016. The public, mainly Americans, has grown in a few years to more than 635,000 members, now there are quite a few more, but there are no precise figures. Remarkable: You never found this app in the App Store because of hate speech. Think especially of neo-Nazism. You can no longer find it in the Google Play Store either.
- Bitchute: The alternative to YouTube, year of birth 2017. According to Bitchute itself, it has 20 million unique visitors every month. The most famous European is perhaps the Dutchman Lange Frans, a rapper who was thrown from YouTube. He has to make do with substantially fewer followers: about 1 percent of those crucial-for-the-revenue subscribers on YouTube.
The latter is also the sore point: these alt-right sites are often just as popular as well-known figures switch. But it is usually not possible to complete the transfer. The money is in fact with the big boys and then sitting on a small medium is not that interesting for them.