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💬 Conservative Social Media, Free Speech & Content Moderation


Photo by Gayatri Malhotra / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Casey Newton
Guests: George Farmer | CEO | Parler &
Jason Miller | CEO | GETTR
Category: 💬 Opinion

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[1:55] GF: “Parler is a free speech orientated social media network with a […] NFT offering. It has been labeled as the conservative haven of Twitter. And from our perspective, we like to view ourselves as the free speech haven, basically, Twitter without censorship effectively.”

[2:14] JM: “One of the important ways to look at this dynamic is not so much of […] alternative platforms that are competing against Twitter and Facebook. I think it's also important to point out the fact that Facebook is actually losing people, that Twitter is effectively a dying platform. […] So there's plenty of room for whether it's GETTR or Parler or Truth Social, […] even Rumble taking on YouTube. We think that the traditional Silicon Valley Tech platforms are dying. With GETTR, we describe ourselves as the all in one free speech platform. Right now […] we have the features, essentially the microblogging [ones] [to compete with] Twitter or Facebook or other platforms. We have live streaming […], we launched our short video platform. But where we're going as a company this summer, when we launched GETTR Pay, which will be our two coin crypto ecosystem, that will not only be a competitor, say to the Apple pays, and the ALI pays of the world. But we also think we're going to bring the DeFi aspect and peer to peer lending to a whole community of people in the US and beyond, who've never had the opportunity to really experience that.”

[3:44] GF: “Truth has done a deal with Rumble. They clearly have an eye on the video distribution network. From that perspective, I think they're going to be engaging with Rumble very aggressively and tend to take on a kind of Netflix style of business. I don't necessarily think that competes with our style of business. […] You can have quite a broad array of free speech oriented social media sites, which are trying to cater to that growing market of people who don't necessarily want strict moderation policies in their social media.”

[6:13] JM: “When President Trump announced in October that he was going to roll out Truth social, we actually saw a 135% increase in new signups in the 10 following days, as opposed to the 10 preceding days. And a lot of people might not realize this, but actually about 20 to 25% of Trump voters quit social media, when President Trump was deplatformed. […] They may not have gone and deleted their accounts, but they got frustrated […] and […] were over it. […] So it's terrible for democracy, but […] keep kicking people off, because they're coming over to our platforms quickly.”

[8:00] CN: “I think when you have the president of the United States inciting violence on Twitter, leading to deaths of law enforcement officers, urging the overthrow of the free and fair election, you're gonna tell me that removing that guy from the platform is bad for democracy? What's good for democracy?”

[8:24] JM: “I think to go and kick off a sitting president of the United States is nuts. And […] it sets the precedent that certain people have free speech rights in this country, and certain people don't. […] I think it's an assault on the First Amendment. And I think as Americans […] I think we take for granted the fact that we have free speech. And that's why it's good that we have platforms, such as GETTR and Parler that are rising up and saying, […] we're gonna take those rights.”

[11:30] CN: “I think one reason why companies love to come along and say we’re for free speech is because it means they don't actually have to pay as much attention to what their users are saying. So I'm not saying you don't have a principle view. I'm also just saying it makes your business easier, in a lot of ways. You don't have to hire as many moderators.”

[11:45] JM: “I think you're just totally off. […] We take moderation very seriously. Our terms of service make it very clear that we're not gonna allow illegal behavior, or […] racial or religious epithets, those types of things. […] The difference is that we don't use political discrimination to pick winners and losers. It's not that this community gets to have free speech when that community doesn't.”

[15:51] GF: “We came back to the table after January 10th, when we got deplatformed, by AWS and by Google and by Apple. There were various studies which were published and charging documents, which were analyzed in the aftermath of the Capitol riot which talks about Parler’s involvement. And it found us to be a very small minority actor, compared with someone like Facebook, even Instagram was listed as a higher […] social media platform with engaged content than ours in terms of extremism.”

[18:37] CN: “The most popular social platform in America right now is TikTok, which is also the platform that censors more than any other. Until three years ago, you couldn't even show somebody who had a tattoo on the for you page. […] Americans talk about free speech as a value when you look at what they choose, they're often choosing censorship. The market is rewarding censorship. […] What gives you the confidence that there's actually an audience […] for free speech paradise?”

[19:18] GF: “There is no one answer to […] the key formula for success. […] Why our platforms have some success is because of the fact that there is obviously nascent consumer demand for anti censorship, free speech social media platforms. […] You are obviously seeing platforms which cater to that demand flourish. At the same time, of course, TikTok, which I would say is completely the opposite end of social media in some ways. It's far more centered around content creation. […] There's very, very different demand profiles. […] TikTok is supplying a different need. That's totally fine. There's room for both.”

[21:32] JM: “I think you have to also keep in mind that the big tech companies have effectively written off 40 to 50% of people in every country around the world. This isn't just a US problem. We see it in Brazil, where they try to silence the Bolsonaro folks, we see it in the UK with […] anyone who supported Brexit, we see it in France [with] their presidential election right now. […] So the free speech issue is going on all over the world, not just here. But if you're not being discriminated against, you're not going to see it.”

[28:24] JM: “Traditionally, in US history, the free speech debate was largely a center, center left, […] whether it be women's rights, or African American rights, or gay rights. […] But […] the pendulum is gonna swing back and we see Nicki Minaj getting sentenced to digital jail for daring to raise questions about vaccine effectiveness. The cancel culture, once that pendulum gets swinging, you never know when it's gonna come after you. And so that's why it's good to decentralize and get things away from Twitter and Facebook and all the power being in the hands of these few people. […] The fact that we've recently added everything from feminists in the UK to a whole bunch of mainstream media reporters here in the US, I think it's great. So the more the merrier. I’m not saying that people are gonna agree with the leftist centered perspective all that much, but they're welcome.”

Rating: 🚀🚀🚀🚀

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google (Original Title: "Parler, GETTR CEOs in Conversation with Casey Newton")
🕰️ 47 min | 🗓️ 02/26/2022
✅ Time saved: 45 min