President Donald Trump’s online supporters are scattered to smaller social media platforms, fleeing what they say is an unfair practice by Facebook, Twitter and other big tech companies looking to get rid of the information that Wrong and the threat of violence
The efforts of those mainstream platforms, prompted by the fatal rampage at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, are likely to be successful, according to social media and misinformation experts. But the crackdown may send Trump’s fiercest supporters back into the dark and secret void on the internet where violent conspiracy theories and rhetoric run amok.
“We will see fewer opportunities to make new people radical,”; on mainstream platforms Kate Starbird, the University of Washington’s leading misinformation expert, said Wednesday, “but for those who are already radical or down in Rabbit burrows, with conspiracy theories, this might not make a difference, the places they go to become the echo chamber. ”
For years, mainstream tech companies have been the target of conservative outrage, with complaints that Facebook and Twitter have enforced their policies against political bias. The platforms have also been criticized for letting malicious conspiracy theories and hate speech thrive on their sites.
Tech companies then took an unprecedented response to the Capitol riots, fueled by the misleading and misleading social media posts that devastated U.S. election faith, Twitter banned. Trump’s account includes 70,000 accounts related to the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory. Facebook and Instagram suppressed Trump at the end of his term and deleted fraudulent posts claiming that the US election was stolen. Trump and on Wednesday YouTube suspended his channel for at least a week.
Some conservative users have only briefly found refuge in Parler to see a more conservative alternative to Facebook on a dark Monday when Amazon stops hosting. Parlor sued Amazon over the ban; Amazon responded with the platform’s “unwillingness” argument to delete posts that threaten public safety.
The crackdown has prompted many conservative posters to consider more vague alternative platforms such as Gab, which markets Trump supporters. Gab CEO Andrew Torba, who describes himself as a “Christian entrepreneur and American populist,” posted Wednesday that 1.7 million registered users were registered over four days. The past
“This is where we stand for the last time for the divine birthright that God has given and confirmed by our founding fathers,” read Torba’s comment.
Other platforms that attract Trump supporters include Signal and Telegram, a messaging service already used by individuals and groups of different ideologies around the world, as well as a list of lesser-known platforms such as Rumble, MeWe and CloutHub.
Telegram announced Wednesday that it had more than 500 million users, with more than 25 million subscribed since Sunday.
Many of Trump’s social media stars, who have been banished from mainstream platforms, have launched their own channels on the service, which have gained thousands of followers in just days. The channel, purported to be run by conservative lawyer Ellin Wood Jr., who dumped Twitter with false claims about the election and called for Parler, Vice President Mike Pence to be killed, has more than 100,000 followers since. The first message is On Monday’s post, QAnon and the far right channel saw thousands of more members increase this week.
Many of these small sites served as a refuge for extremists and conspiracy theorists who were fired from Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, said Jared Holt, a disinformation researcher at the Atlantic Council in Washington.
“In the worst-case scenario, I can imagine here having the potential to exacerbate if more people show up on the platform that started the radical movement,” Holt said.
These platforms still have only a portion of the audience that Facebook or Twitter have, meaning conspiracy theorists and extremist groups will be more difficult to spread their message.
“There was an exchange,” Starbird said of the platform’s crackdown: less misinformation circulating in the general public. But it also runs the risk of focusing misinformation on smaller, far-flung sites with little to no rules and moderation of content.
It’s possible that some of the far right might take advantage of the more secure encrypted messaging services offered by Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp, making it harder for researchers, journalists and government officials to monitor the threat. Dear James Ludes, former Congressional defense analyst and disinformation expert who runs the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina University.
“They’re still here,” Ludes said. “If we put these people in the shadows of the Internet, they’ll keep communicating. But the staff will have a harder time following up ”
Meanwhile, on a website related to the Boogaloo anti-government movement, planning continues for armed protests at government agencies. Discussions about the protests were available on some social media, Holt said and the FBI’s statement later this week. Warned of the threat of extremist groups in the incident.
The organizers “still intend to keep going,” Holt said. “It is unclear what we can expect as long as the product is for that.”