Hours after being knocked off Facebook and Instagram last week, provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, Patient Zero for Twitter-banning, joined the messaging app Telegram and wasted no time firing off the n-word.
To his growing list of followers there, he wrote, ‘Like John Lennon, I take “n*gger” to mean any oppressed person. Today’s n*ggers are me, Laura [Loomer], and Alex Jones,’ adding that his black husband gave him permission to write that.
That, of course, would have never been allowed on Facebook or Twitter. But Telegram is the new platform of the damned (Tommy Robinson has over 35,000 followers there). It joins a list of alternative social networks including Parler, Minds, MeWe, Gab and BitChute that have seen a surge in membership sign-ups following the digital extermination of a prominent political voice.
If there is one silver lining in last week’s purge, it’s that Facebook is no longer even trying to hide its bias. Their half-assed explanation for their censorship dragnet sounded more like corporate America’s equivalent of the exasperated DMV worker rolling her eyes and popping her gum when asked a question. When pressed, Facebook rattled off some excuse about Yiannopoulos and Alex Jones being booted for at some point publicly appearing with another banned person, commentator Gavin McInnes. McInnes and a fraternity he founded called the Proud Boys were among the targets in a coordinated cross-platform sweep just before the 2018 midterms.
This behavior surprises exactly no one, especially Silicon Valley-watchers. In the aftermath of the 2016 general election, Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg, who some claim is an interdimensional synthetic humanoid, and Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive Bearded Shaman-Ninja, had a reckoning. They blamed themselves for the election of Donald Trump and vowed to never let it happen again.
McInnes agrees. ‘Our real crime is being charming and loving Trump. That’s why they pretend we’re fascists and prevent us from proving we’re not. It’s about silencing the opposition so you can control the narrative,’ he told me. ‘It’s communism in a nutshell and it’s not what this country is about.’
You don’t have to think like or even like Gavin McInnes and Milo Yiannopoulos to see that social media censorship is a grave concern in a supposedly free society. Many still argue that, in a free market, private companies should be free to choose who to provide a service too. A free market, however, should also be able offer alternatives to those who want to speak their minds.
Yet the scrappy band of alternative social networks that claim to protect free speech and user privacy have been slow to gain popularity. One reason may be the media establishment is gunning for them. Gab has 940,000 users and an independent 2017 study showed 5.4 percent of all posts on the platform contained ‘hate words.’ A sample of Twitter’s 321 million users showed ‘hate words’ in about 3 percent of posts, making the volume of hateful content on Twitter vastly larger. Yet journalists launched a smear campaign against Gab as it began to grow in popularity. They obsessed over the fact a man who murdered 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh was a Gab user. This lead Apple and Google to collude in banning the app from their stores, which together control nearly 100 percent of the mobile phone market. It didn’t seem to matter so much that the man who killed 50 at two New Zealand mosques last month was a Twitter user.
This year, Gab launched Dissenter, an open-source browser extension that creates its own comments section for any article on the Internet. Despite a study showing that only 0.81 percent of Dissenter comments contained ‘hate words,’ Google and Mozilla banned the extension anyway. Expect the Telegram smear pieces to come soon.
Many of the alt-media rollouts have been buggy. Parler, for instance, made a splash last year but was almost unusable. It works better today, though is far from perfect. But perhaps the main reason these networks are slow to grow in an environment where half the country wants alternatives to Big Tech is, simply, there are no liberals on these platforms to troll. And what fun is free speech without insane lefties to annoy? We may look back on the social media decade before 2016 as a golden age, when people disagreed freely, annoying each like hell, but also checking and balancing each other’s excesses through fair argument. We didn’t just repeat ourselves in opinion silos.
Free speech and online censorship are perhaps the most important and interesting issues of our time. Even the tech overloads are in completely uncharted territory when dealing with this issue. If alternative platforms begin to pick up steam, the 2020 election cycle may be even more bonkers than 2016. With all of the most prominent voices in the Trump movement having been banished to the underworld, they are now free to say anything without fear of reprisal.
Many of the internet’s thought criminals aren’t particularly active on alternative networks (at least not yet). But there are exceptions: Alex Jones, InfoWars, and Sargon of Akkad are very popular on Minds, for example. Yiannopoulos constantly updates Parler and Telegram, while users like Roger Stone’s accounts are largely dark.
With all the fun and most infuriating people gone from polite e-society, 2020 may be the test year for whether alternative social networks can nudge their way onto the playing field and give dinosaurs like Facebook a run for their data-thieving money. So in the spirit of free competition, I offer a list of where to find some of the best known banned celebrities:
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube
Find him on: Gab (@RealAlexJones), Minds (@AlexJones)
Find him on: Instagram (@acumia), Parler (@anthonycumia)
Find her on: Instagram (@azealiabanks), Facebook (@azealiabanksmusic)
Find her on: Gab (@FaithGoldy), Telegram (@FaithGoldy), Twitter (@FaithGoldy), YouTube (Faith J. Goldy)
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, the nation of Australia
Find him on: iTunes (Get Off My Lawn), YouTube (Gavin McInnes)
Bumble, Tinder, Twitter
Find him on: Maybe TrumpSingles.com?
Find him on: Gab (@godfreyelfwick), Minds (@GodfreyElfwick) and, er, Spectator USA
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube
Find them on: BitChute (@infowars), Minds (@infowars), and www.infowars.com
Find him on: Instagram (@jacobawohl), Parler (@jacobawohl)
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, PayPal, Venmo, GoFundMe, Uber, Uber Eats, Lyft, Medium, TeeSpring, Chase Bank
Find her on: Parler (@lauraloomer), Telegram (@LOOMERED), Gab (@lauraloomer) and lauraloomer.us
Find him on: Twitter (@LouisFarrakhan)
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, PayPal, Venmo, Eventbrite, Shopify, Patreon, Coinbase, Periscope, Mailchimp, Tumblr, the nation of Australia
Find him on: Gab (@M), Telegram (@officialmilo), Parler (@milo), YouTube (Milo Yiannopoulos) and eBay
Facebook, Twitter, civil society
Find him at:
Inmate number 87850-053
Metropolitan Detention Center Brooklyn
80 29th St.
Brooklyn, NY 11232
Find her on: Minds (@Meghanmurphy), Gab (@MeghanMurphy)
Find him at: BitChute (@owenbenjamin), Facebook (@owenbenjamincomedy), Minds (@OwenBenjamin), YouTube (Owen Benjamin)
Paul Joseph Watson
Find him on: BitChute (@pauljosephwatson), Gab (@prisonplanet), Minds (@PaulJosephWatson), Parler (@PJW), Twitter (@prisonplanet), YouTube (Paul Joseph Watson)
Find him on: Gab (@pax)
The Proud Boys
Chase Bank, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Find them at: Gab (@TheProudBoysUSA), Telegram (@proudboysusa), YouTube (The ProudboysUSA)Pax Dickinson
Find him on: Gab (@rogerjstonejr), Instagram (@rogerjstonejr), Minds (rogerjstonejr), Parler (@rogerstone)
Sargon of Akkad
Find him on: Gab (@sargonofakkad100), Facebook (@sargonofakkad100), Instagram (sargonofakkad100), Minds (@Sargon_of_Akkad), YouTube (Sargon of Akkad), the election trail for the European elections
Smash Racism DC
Find them on: Facebook (@antifadc), Instagram (@smashracismdc)
Find him at: Facebook (@talbertswan), Instagram (@talbertswan)
Find her on: Gab (@tila_tequila)
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, America
Find him on: BitChute (@TommyRobinson), Gab (@iamtommyrobinson), Telegram (@TommyRobinsonNews)