Much of the buzz yesterday surrounding a pseudo-announcement that Donald Trump is building a brand new social media site that will be launching in two to three months. There was plenty of excitement, particularly from Trump-supporters who have missed our political leader’s posts on Twitter and Facebook where he has been banned.
Admittedly, I was excited about it myself, but after reading an article on Big League Politics and listening to the latest episode of Conservative Playbook, I’m not so sure it’s a good idea. Both conservative outlets said that there are already alternatives to Twitter and Facebook that have built-in users and well-tested technology, Gab, which happens to be my favorite as well, was noted by both as the better venue with Parler also a strong consideration. There are others, but these two have risen to be the true Twitter alternatives for conservatives. They do not have the functionality of Facebook, but many have still found greener pastures on alternatives.
One of the biggest drawbacks is that even with so many conservatives fed up with Big Tech, there are still major challenges for the current freer-speech platforms to gain traction. Some would correctly argue that the presence of Donald Trump on any of the alternative platforms would give them the boost they need to reach a certain level, but would it be enough to challenge Big Tech? Maybe, maybe not, but another option with Trump’s brand on it may end up dividing the digital troops even further.
Of course, there’s a chance that whatever they’re building is actually superior in form and function to anything that’s available today. Modern technology that wasn’t available when these other platforms were built make it easy to imagine something strong being put forth. Whether that’s what the Trump team has planned or not is unknown. Nevertheless, Gab and Parler are both still improving. According to Big League Politics:
Trump advisor Jason Miller revealed last month that President Trump is considering starting his own social media internet property in the summer as part of a return to online discourse. Miller also said the President is considering using an existing free speech social media platform such as Gab or Parler, with both the options a possibility.
The hypothetical new social media platform would be called something akin to ‘Trumper.’
However, this would be a bad idea. President Trump should use Gab, a free speech social media platform. A Gab-administered account created for Trump’s public statements already has more than 2 million followers.
Big Tech didn’t build their internet and social media monopolies in a day. Twitter, YouTube and Facebook’s monopoly in their respective social media markets was built through decades of buying out competition, market consolidation, and anti-competitive business practices.
Gab didn’t pop up overnight as a response to the most crippling round of online censorship. The platform actually launched in 2016, with CEO Andrew Torba previously working for Silicon Valley tech companies and tiring of the increasing trend of censorship and political bias already evident in the industry. Gab has internally owned and administered web hosting servers, preventing Big Tech oligarchs from disabling the site.
If the Trump tech team pulls out something spectacular and new, then there’s a chance for success. If it’s another Twitter or Facebook alternative that becomes a MAGA echo-chamber, it’ll be just that—another alternative echo-chamber.