Alt-tech

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Alt-tech is a group of websites, social media platforms, and Internet service providers which have become popular among anti-establishment political activists who espouse opinions that are not considered politically correct, due to the conception that the alternative hosts provide less stringent content moderation than mainstream internet service providers.

Some alt-tech services have less stringent content moderation policies which have attracted users who were banned or restricted from more mainstream services, while some alt-tech services have been created specifically to cater to anti-establishment users.

In the 2010s, some conservatives banned from other social media platforms, and their supporters, began to post and view content on alt-tech platforms. Several alt-tech platforms were created as protectors of free speech and individual liberty, but some left-wing researchers and journalists have described as a cover for what they see as far right userbases and antisemitism on such platforms.</ref>[1]

History

Alt-tech websites were first described as such in the 2010s; they have seen an increase in popularity in the later part of that decade, as well as the early 2020s. This has been attributed, in part, to deplatforming, bans, and restrictions of activity imposed by Big Tech companies such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as other claimed SJW converged sites such as Wikipedia and YouTube. One prominent example is that these companies are frequently claimed to censor the views of right-wing groups.[2]

After the August 2017 Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally, Internet companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter were criticized by left-wing opponents to pro-white activism for allegedly failing to adhere to their own terms of service, and reacted with policies aimed toward deplatforming white nationalists. Joe Mulhall, a researcher for the communist "anti-racist" organization Hope not Hate, identified the deplatforming of counterjihad organization Britain First, in 2018, and Tommy Robinson, in 2019, as two major events that spurred British social media users to join alternative platforms. The August 2018 deplatforming of Alex Jones was further referenced as a pivotal moment.

Alt-tech platforms experienced another surge in popularity in January 2021, when United States president Donald Trump, and many of his prominent followers, were suspended from Twitter and other platforms; Parler, a website with a large proportion of Trump supporters among its userbase, was taken offline when Amazon Web Services suspended their hosting several days after the protests at the United States Capitol on January 6, though it was restarted with a new host a month later.

Deen Freelon and colleagues, publishing in Science in September 2020, condemned the fact that some alt-tech websites are specifically dedicated to serving right-wing communities, naming 4chan (founded in 2003), 8chan (2013), Gab (2016), BitChute (2017) and Parler (2018) as examples. They noted that others were more ideologically neutral, such as Discord and Telegram. Discord later worked to remove right-wing figures from its userbase, and became a more left-wing platform.[3] Joe Mulhall, a senior researcher for the communist "anti-racist" group Hope not Hate, also distinguishes groups of alt-tech platforms: he says that some of them, such as DLive and Telegram, are "co-opted platforms" which have become widely popular among the right because of their minimal moderation; others including BitChute, Gab, and Parler are "bespoke platforms" which were created by people who themselves have what he describes as "far-right leanings".

Platforms

Some websites and platforms that have been described as alt-tech include:

Type Alt-tech company Citations Defunct?
Microblogging Gab [4][5][6][7]
Parler [4][8][7][9]
Online video platform BitChute [4][7][10]
DLive (Now a mainstream left-wing live streaming website) [11]
DTube [10]
Odysee (LBRY) [12][13]
PewTube [5][6] Defunct
Rumble [11][9]
Triller [9]
Crowdfunding GoyFundMe [5] Defunct
Hatreon [6][14] Defunct
SubscribeStar [15][16]
WeSearchr [17] Defunct
Social networking service MeWe (Now a mainstream left-wing social networking site)[18] [11][9]
Minds [7][19]
Slug [20]
Thinkspot [21][22][23][24]
WrongThink [5] Defunct, became a 4chan like imageboard
News aggregator Patriots.win [25]
Voat [17][9] Defunct
Wiki encyclopedia Infogalactic [5][17]
Imageboard 4chan [4]
8chan [4][19]
Instant messaging Signal [11]
Telegram [11][26]
Online dating service WASP Love [5]
Pastebin JustPaste.it [19]
Domain name registrar and
web hosting
Epik [27][28]
Civic engagement platform CloutHub [11]

References

  1. "Parler: Where the Mainstream Mingles with the Extreme". Anti-Defamation League. November 12, 2020. Archived from the original on November 14, 2020. Retrieved November 14, 2020.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:No_Nazis
  3. Brown, Abram. "Discord Was Once The Alt-Right's Favorite Chat App. Now It's Gone Mainstream And Scored A New $3.5 Billion Valuation". Forbes. Retrieved May 18, 2021.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Freelon-Science
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Roose-NYT
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Malter-CNNMoney
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Smith, Adam (June 24, 2020). "What is the right-wing Parler app that MPs and celebrities are joining?". The Independent. Archived from the original on June 30, 2020. Retrieved September 4, 2020.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Cogley-Telegraph
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Cohen, Jason (January 15, 2021). "How Mainstream Social Media Data Collection Compares With Alt-Tech Rivals". PC Magazine. Retrieved January 19, 2021.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 Bellemare, Andrea; Nicholson, Katie; Ho, Jason. "How a debunked COVID-19 video kept spreading after Facebook and YouTube took it down". CBC News. Retrieved January 15, 2021.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Wilson
  12. "Odysee aims to build a more freewheeling, independent video platform". Tech Crunch.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Rumble, MeWe, Minds: welcome to alt-tech, far-right social networks". Numerama. March 19, 2021.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Zuckerman
  15. Coulter, Martin (December 15, 2018). "PayPal shuts Russian crowdfunder's account after alt-right influx". Financial Times. Archived from the original on December 15, 2018. Retrieved March 8, 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Sommer, Will (December 18, 2018). "Stars of 'Intellectual Dark Web' Scramble to Save Their Cash Cows". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on December 18, 2018. Retrieved March 25, 2021.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Ellis-Wired
  18. https://cancelthiscompany.com/Company-Reviews/MeWe_Review.html
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Ebner, Julia (February 10, 2020). "Swiping right into the alt-right online dating world". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved January 9, 2021.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Baele, Stephane J.; Brace, Lewys; Coan, Travis G. (2021). "Variations on a Theme? Comparing 4chan, 8kun, and Other chans' Far-Right "/pol" Boards". Perspectives on Terrorism. 15 (1): 65–80. ISSN 2334-3745. JSTOR 26984798 – via JSTOR.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Martinez, Ignacio (June 13, 2019). "Jordan Peterson is releasing a 'free speech' alternative to Patreon called Thinkspot". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on April 17, 2020. Retrieved April 17, 2020.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Kassel, Matthew (July 24, 2019). "Jordan Peterson's Starting A 'Free Speech Hub' — And Extremists Are Intrigued". The Forward. Archived from the original on July 25, 2019. Retrieved April 17, 2020.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Semley, John (December 4, 2019). "What is Jordan Peterson's new anti-censorship website like?". The Guardian. Archived from the original on December 26, 2019. Retrieved April 19, 2020.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Goggin, Benjamin (December 17, 2018). "Top Patreon creators, of the 'Intellectual Dark Web,' say they're launching an alternate crowdfunding platform not 'susceptible to arbitrary censorship'". Business Insider. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved June 2, 2020.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Cuthbertson, Anthony (January 13, 2021). "Where do Trump and his fans go after being banned from most of the internet?". The Independent. Retrieved January 16, 2021.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Green, Yasmin (January 9, 2021). "Conspiracy theories are about to go viral in new, murkier ways". Wired UK. Retrieved January 22, 2021.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named :1
  28. Makuch, Ben (May 8, 2019). "The Far Right Has Found a Web Host Savior". Vice. Archived from the original on August 22, 2019. Retrieved May 10, 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

See also