Voat

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Voat Inc.
Voat-logo.png
Web address voat.co[1]
Commercial? Yes
Registration Optional (required to submit, comment, or vote)
Available in English
Written in C#
Alexa rank
Decrease 8,670 (September 2018)[2]
Current status Online

Voat Inc /ˈvt/ is a news aggregator and social networking service where registered community members can submit content such as text posts and direct links. Registered users can then vote for these submissions. At 100 votes, restrictions on voting are removed. Voting is commonly called "voating" by users. Content entries are organized by areas of interest called "subverses".

The website has been described by several media outlets, including Quartz, The New York Times, New York, and the US and UK editions of Wired, as a hub for the alt-right.[3][4][5][6][7]

Site

Voat is a site which hosts aggregated content and discussion forums. According to Wired, Voat is "aesthetically and functionally similar to Reddit".[8] Like Reddit, Voat is a collection of entries submitted by its registered users to themed categories (called "subverses" on Voat) similar to a bulletin board system. Unlike Reddit, Voat has emphasized looser content restrictions and an ad-revenue sharing program.[9][10][11] Voat is written in the C# programming language, while Reddit is written in Python.[12][13]

In a January 2017 New Yorker article, Voat was described as a descendant of 2chan, 4chan, and 8chan, where users compete for shock value.[14] The Verge described the site as "Imzy's dark twin", in that both were indirect products of the Gamergate culture war.[15] It is also known for illegally sharing copyright-protected material.[16]

The name "Voat" is a play on the words 'goat' and 'vote'.[13] The site's mascot is a goat.[17] The website uses the Colombian top level domain .co which was registered in November 2014.[18]

History

Founded in April 2014 as WhoaVerse, the website was a hobby project of Atif Colo (known on Voat as @Atko), then a student pursuing a BSc, who was later joined by Justin Chastain (known as @PuttItOut).[19][20] The website has been labelled as an alternative to Reddit with a focus on freedom of expression.[10][17][21] In December 2014, WhoaVerse changed its name to Voat for ease of use.[22]

In February, 2015, following accusations of censorship on Reddit, Voat claimed that they had seen a “large influx” of new users, most of them from Reddit.[23]

In early June, 2015, after Reddit banned five of its subreddits for harassment—the largest of which had around 150,000 subscribers[24][25]—many users of Reddit began to create accounts on Voat.[26] The influx of new participants temporarily overloaded the site, causing downtime.[27][28]

Voat's Germany-based web hosting service, Host Europe (a precursor to Webfusion), shut down the service in June 2015 and alleged Voat "was publicizing incitement of people, as well as abusive, insulting and youth-endangering content" as well as "illegal right-wing extremist content".[29] Voat's founder attributed the shutdown to political correctness.[29] Voat also had payments frozen by Paypal due to "sexually oriented materials or services".[30][19][16][31][32] Voat shut down four of its own subverses in response, two of which hosted sexualized images of minors ("jailbait").[11] The website continued to accept donations in Bitcoin,[17] and was able to continue functioning, as it had moved to a different hosting provider.[33] The website continued to experience downtime due to an ongoing distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack, rendering the 700,000 unique visitors unable to access the site.[11]

In early July 2015, following the dismissal of a popular administrator on Reddit, another influx of Reddit members registered with Voat,[34] leading to traffic which again caused Voat to experience downtime.[35][36][37] The developers of the website were subsequently approached by venture capitalists interested in investing in the project.[17]

Also in July, Voat, alongside WikiLeaks, was subject to a Bitcoin "dust" attack and more DDoS attacks. The Bitcoin attack slowed payment processing to the websites.[38] The DDoS attack, launched July 12, was unsuccessful due to Cloudflare services, although it had the side effect of rendering third-party Voat apps incapable of functioning.[39][40]

In August 2015, Voat became incorporated in the United States. Colo explained in a post announcing the incorporation that this was because "U.S. law by far beats every other candidate country we’ve researched."[41][42]

In November 2016, more users relocated to Voat after Reddit banned the Pizzagate conspiracy theory subreddit citing doxing and harassment concerns.[43][44]

In January 2017, Colo resigned as CEO of Voat, citing a lack of time available to devote to the site. Colo was replaced as CEO by Chastain.[45]

In May 2017, Chastain ran a fundraising campaign, announcing that Voat might have to shut down due to lack of money.[15]

In November 2017 some of Reddit's incel community moved to Voat after an incel community was banned on Reddit.[46]

On Sep 12, 2018, Reddit banned several subreddits dedicated to discussing the QAnon conspiracy theory, stating that they had violated it's rules prohibiting "inciting violence, harassment, and the dissemination of personal information."[47] This caused many of its users to migrate to Voat.

See also

References

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