Polling today regularly shows Americans not only maintain high distrust of Big Tech, but seek more regulation of it and view such platforms as doing more harm than good. Given how Big Tech has continued to censor conservative voices, including former President Donald Trump, Americans dissatisfied with their self-infatuated overlords are exploring alternatives.
There is a reason the companies in power have been successful: Not only were they some of the first in the industry, but their platforms are remarkably advanced and user-friendly. Any company that has became categorized as “Big Tech” has done so by raking in billions and providing users with experiences that keep them coming back.
While people may be reluctant to jump ship after years of interaction on certain platforms, and certainly some are banking on Congress to take action on their behalf in the years ahead, here are several options for right now. After all, if conservatives wish to genuinely engage in the culture war, it’s time to build and support infrastructure not operated by people who hate us.
“The biggest corporations in America are unabashedly letting ideology run their business,” Rachel Bovard, senior director of policy at Conservative Partnership Institute, told me. “It is more important than ever for conservatives to build our own market and business infrastructure, and to support the small businesses in this space.”
“However, it is equally important for conservatives to push policymakers to address anti-competitive market distortions where they exist, to make sure that conservative startups and businesses get the same rights in the free market as everyone else,” she added.
If the left is willing to threaten a boycott against non-leftist companies while deplatforming normal people, will the right sit back and mumble about free markets or build their own?
From Amazon to Your Community
Federalist Publisher Joy Pullmann wrote about her experience migrating away from Amazon back in March. Joy mentions alternative options, such as buying directly from suppliers and from family-owned businesses you know are run by good people.
What stuck out to me most in Joy’s article is the importance of buying local. Given the level of decay occurring in communities across America, supporting your neighbor and building in-person relationships is vital. We often overlook the abundance of products within just miles of us in exchange for immediate gratification online — which only lines the pockets of corporate executives and, oftentimes, corrupt Chinese interests.
Amazon may offer ease of ordering, but at the costs of supporting Chinese child and slave labor, the destruction of the American worker, and the idea that the U.S. should build a foreign trade empire that works for everyone except the American worker. Joy writes:
I needed to adjust to paying people an American living wage for their hard, high-quality labor, just as I want to be paid a family-sustaining wage for my labor. The money saved from buying less cheap Chinese crap that kids break quickly was redirected into our food budget. I like living this way for multiple reasons—less waste and consumerism and higher quality of fewer goods chief among them. The taste and health benefits are clear as well.
From Twitter to Parler
Parler struggled with user interface and accessibility before Amazon Web Services refused Parler service, knocking it offline for a short period. However, with a new CEO months after its relaunch — and a fresh perspective on the importance of aesthetic as much as functionality — Parler has a lot of potential. The new landing page is easier to navigate and less intimidating. It pops out more visually.
“Free speech is written into the DNA of Parler, and that’s the whole reason we started,” CEO George Farmer told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo this week. “It’s our corporate policy that we do not sell your data. Most firms out there will happily sell your data and happily exchange it for cash.”
Taken at his word, Farmer’s platform sounds appealing. Twitter, for one, is constantly censoring content and failing to explain why. Twitter also has a record of selling tweets to data miners. The company openly admitted in 2019 to using account data for advertisement campaigns.
Parler still has ways to go with branding itself as more than just a political website and offering features that rival Twitter, but building digital infrastructure that the establishment vehemently opposes has to start somewhere.
From Google to DuckDuckGo
Google censors speech by shadow-banning those deemed unclean, removing advertisements from websites, blacklisting search results, and much more. Talk show host Bill Maher had a great segment last week on how the company immorally took steps to censor content related to the COVID-19 lab-leak theory.
DuckDuckGo, which I can vouch for based on daily use, is a valuable replacement tool. Whereas Google hides conservative content or does not display it front-and-center during a basic search, a more organic DuckDuckGo search turns up a variety of viewpoints and ideologies. The search engine employs no social engineering based on your previous searches and does not use targeting or profiling.
Privacy is a major benefit of DuckDuckGo. It prevents search leakage, which means private websites will not be able to access your user info and IP address via prior searches. No cookies are collected on the search engine, which are text files with data that identify your specific computer to a given network. Plus, there are no advertisements.
Not only does Google expose you to many privacy risks, but the company frequently expresses and embeds in its products animus towards people who don’t fully abide by leftist orthodoxy. The company is now in the process of suggesting gender “inclusive” spelling changes on its Google Docs platform — such as “mail carrier” instead of “mailman” and “chairperson” instead of “chairman.”
From Facebook to MeWe
MeWe made waves with Hong Kongers in November 2020 upon citizens searching for an alternative to Facebook that permits free and open discourse. It was started in Albuquerque, New Mexico as a way to channel “the spirit of our democracy and the backbone of our privacy” amid increasing Big Tech censorship.
The company operates chat rooms and forums, and allows people to list events and create or join pages. For instance, there is a Babylon Bee page for fans to coordinate and discuss all things related to the outlet.
Christian Toto, editor of Hollywood in Toto and a MeWe account user who left Facebook, told me he has enjoyed his experience. But he has also found the platform a bit overly political.
“I joined MeWe primarily due to Facebook’s obvious corruption, both in silencing conservatives and hiding inconvenient news stories,” Toto said. “MeWe, on the surface, is a very viable platform. It’s Facebook-like in a good way, and it didn’t take long for me to feel comfortable using its tools.”
“What I’ve found, though, is mostly hyper-partisan posts without the apolitical content that makes Facebook so enjoyable,” he added.
Platforms such as MeWe, Parler, Rumble, Clouthub, and so on are inevitably quite political right now, as Toto noted. When it is one demographic of people overwhelmingly being targeted on Big Tech, these people need to go somewhere to have a voice. Right now, the suppressed voices are largely those with conservative ideas, but as the deplatforming of self-described liberals like Dave Rubin and Bret Weinstein shows, it’s not stopping there.
The hope is that in addition to political discourse transpiring on these new and emerging platforms, there will be opportunities for a broad array of discussions on anything people would typically engage in on Facebook, Twitter, and others. The more people join, the more that will happen organically.
Right now, there is technological infrastructure building on other platforms that wholeheartedly foster free speech. There are many opportunities to embrace this and push the framework further to bring more culture in. Each person who joins helps that process along.