Alt-Tech Platforms: Empowering Free Speech or Fringe Speech?
Social media has given people a virtual soap box to freely express and exchange ideas and opinions. It can be a game changer. In business, a posted image or text that represents the viewpoint of a consumer can change the fortunes of an enterprise. The same goes for politics where perspectives can be more convoluted.
Thus the big tech players such as Facebook, Google and Twitter have come under pressure to moderate content using stringent measures. It is a constant juggling act; removing content deemed offensive without appearing to favour one side of the political spectrum or curtailing free speech.
At a time when nationalist views have grown influential enough to alter the political landscape that was once dominated by the globalist/ capitalist thought, social media has decidedly tightened its rein on the types of content posted on their platforms.
In particular the content skewed toward the nationalist ideology and those that are perceived as subscribing to the alt-right school of thought.
Enter the Alt-Tech platforms which provide a more liberal medium for those with ideas that are unacceptable for conventional social media.
One such Alt-Tech platform is Hatreon which functions as a crowdfunding site for people with controversial content. According to founder, Cody Wilson, Hatreon exists to lend a platform to those who are censored before they can be heard:
“Even if we find the ideas objectionable, they have to be there for us. We have to support them, and not because they are easy but only because they are controversial.”
Hatreon has been used by noted white nationalist Richard Spencer and Andrew Anglin who is the founder of the neo-Nazi website, The Daily Stormer. The site attracts “patrons” who provide funding support to these provocateurs on a monthly basis.
Anglin, for example, has been able to raise $7,800 per month by attracting more than 200 patrons from Hatreon.
For Wilson, he maintains this is just a business that supports an advocacy at the same time. He gets 5% from every dollar won by subscribers from patrons.
Alt-Platforms have their beginnings rooted on the argument on what constitutes freedom of speech. Wilson has questioned the moral authority of popular social media to identify what is appropriate and inappropriate:
“Why do we approve of Facebook’s decision on what is and isn’t acceptable free speech? Why would we approve anyone deciding what is and isn’t acceptable for us to read? And who would we give that job to even if we had to?”
Another rising alt-tech platform is PewTube which started as an alternative to YouTube once Google took on a more aggressive approach policing content it found offensive. Its energetic founder Andrew Mayfield believes the monolithic stance of the popular social media sites have created demand for alt-tech platforms.
PewTube is a fantastic platform for free speech. This platform is great for emerging media such as The Unshackled, since all views are accepted and given scope to breath.
Despite its position on radical thinking, alt-tech platforms have instituted guidelines users are expected to follow.
PewTube does not allow pornography and copyrighted content to be posted. Over at Hatreon, people who have been convicted of money laundering, fraud and those on the State Department’s terror list are not allowed to receive crowdfunding assistance.
And while pornography is not allowed, its other form, revenge porn walks along a grey area. Wilson agrees it is wrong and a kind of harassment. However since it is not illegal in all jurisdictions, it may not get you kicked out of Hatreon.
Thus by offering an alternative platform for radical thought, nationalist views and opinions, Wilson and Mayfield are branded as racists, misogynists, haters, anti- Semites and white supremacists. It is an opinion that Wilson believes is misdirected and completely misses the point of starting an alt-tech platform:
“I don’t like the imposition of state controls over human creativity, freedom, individuality. The way to oppose these things is to undermine the powers of traditional liberal institutions.”
These platforms are the future, and they should be embraced by not only The Unshackled, but also they should utilise emerging crypto-currency and innovations such as Steemit.