Big tech’s move to ban the Talk app and block outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump is stoking support for alternative social networking sites and apps that tout themselves as promoting free speech and privacy.
Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. have taken the strongest action yet to respond to accusations that their platforms are being used to fuel conspiracy theories, misinformation and incite violence after a crowd at the ‘A Trump rally broke into the U.S. Capitol last week. Right-wing users felt maligned and moved to alternative sites like Speak, backed by Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of hedge fund investor Robert Mercer. A rush to the site late last year made Speaking the most downloaded app after President-elect Joe Biden won.
Trump, who has been permanently banned from Twitter, has said he could create his own social platform. “We will not be QUIET,” he said in a Twitter message from the official presidential account which has since been deleted.
With Speak Out of the Game, here’s where users go:
Gab chief executive Andrew Torba said the social network attracted 600,000 new users in the early hours of Monday just after Parler was taken off the internet by Amazon Web Services. As of April 2020, the site had 1.16 million registered accounts and 3.7 million unique monthly users.
In addition to the social network, Gab also has a “Dissenter” web browser that blocks ads, a merchandise store that sells t-shirts that say “Silicon Valley Suppression” and a subscription to the site. Gab Pro.
Some of Gab’s most popular groups are for Trump supporters, QAnon and “Stop the Steal,” several with over 100,000 members. Gab was funded by its founders, users, premium subscriptions, and crowdfunding. Torba owns the majority of the company and controls 80% of the voting shares.
Channels bearing the names of Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. have hundreds of thousands of subscribers on the Telegram encrypted messaging app. The company, founded by Russian-born entrepreneur Pavel Durov, raised $ 1.7 billion in 2018 to create its own cryptocurrency, a project that was ultimately scrapped after clashing with regulators. The Vedomosti newspaper reported that billionaire Roman Abramovich and businessmen David Yakobashvili and Sergei Solonin were among the investors. On Sunday, Trump Jr. shared a list of links to other conservative accounts to follow, such as Right Side Broadcasting Network, PragerU and Turning Point USA, as well as groups like the Trump Supporters Channel.
The app, which rivals Facebook’s WhatsApp and has around 7 million monthly active users in the United States, saw its downloads increase to over 133,000 a day on Sunday, from a usual range of around 34,000 to 60,000, according to data from Apptopia.
Calling itself an “uncensored video platform,” the Canadian competitor to YouTube is used by conservative commentators including Sean Hannity, the Daily Caller, Dinesh D’Souza, the One America News Network and Steve Bannon. Commentators under the site’s Best News Video Monday Morning, a Fox News interview on the Speaking ban with Republican Congressman Devin Nunes, expressed outrage and discussed an upcoming “civil war.” The site was founded by Chris Pavlovski in 2013 and has 50 million unique users per month.
The social networking site, founded by Mark Weinstein, promotes its privacy credentials and does not support advertisements. The site has seen more than a million new users sign up in the past 72 hours and is currently adding more than 20,000 members per hour, according to a spokesperson. “People are leaving Facebook and Twitter in droves because they are fed up with the relentless breaches of privacy, surveillance capitalism, targeting, political bias and the manipulation of news feeds by these companies,” he said. spokesman David Westreich said in an email.
Its political pages include groups sympathetic to QAnon, such as the Great Awakening and the Great Awakening Patriots of the Empowered Citizen Institute, a group that has been banned from Twitter. The company ranked fourth on the Apple App Store two days after the US presidential call for Biden. MeWe raised $ 5.2 million in 2018 from investors such as Lynda Weinman, who sold Lynda.com to LinkedIn in 2015, author Marci Shimoff, Rachel Roy, and Chicken Soup for the Soul creator Jack Canfield.
Created by Howly Inc., 2nd1st claims it offers uncensored news and tells users of its app, “We must not give in to advertisers or cancel the culture.” The app costs £ 9.99 for a UK subscription The app’s main articles on Monday included mockups of Jesus standing behind President Trump, vague warnings about a revolution or history-changing event linked to Trump and skepticism about the requirements to wear masks to prevent Covid19.
None of the companies listed here, other than MeWe, responded to a request for comment. A rep for 2nd1st could not be found and an email address for Gab’s press office appeared to be faulty.