“Free speech” networks and anti-semitism
Over the last few years, a raft of “free speech” social networks have emerged as an alternative to the content policies enacted by companies like Twitter. They take very public anti “cancel culture” stances. But what does that really mean?
Using observer accounts, I took a peek at each of the main ones to see how this particular piece of news went down. Here I will issue a content warning: posts on these sites, including those run by mainstream political operators, are extremely disturbing.
Truth Social is owned by the Trump Media and Technology Group, which in turn is chaired by former President Donald Trump. There, an account with over 50,000 followers (10% of its Daily Active Users) states:
Truth Social has around 2 million users.
Gab was founded in 2016 as the first right-wing alternative social network. The founder (who has 3.7 million followers) writes:
In response to a post that asks “who runs JP Morgan Chase?” hundreds of users respond with some variation of “the Jews”.
Gab has around 4 million users.
Minds was founded in 2011 and originally built on top of Elgg, the open source social networking framework I co-founded. While it was originally created as an alternative to surveillance capitalism, its anti-banning stance caused it to provide a home to white supremacists banned from mainstream networks in the wake of the January 6 insurrection. (Indeed, Trump had invited its founders to the White House alongside the founders of the networks listed above in 2019.)
Over there, a popular post states:
Minds has over two million users.
GETTR is another conservative Twitter clone, this time founded by a former Trump aide. Here the anti-semitism is less overt, although a few comments from fringe accounts did talk about “the satanic…