After being banned from sites like Twitter, Facebook, GoFundMe and YouTube, alt-righters quested to create their own version of the Internet — but their “alt-tech” sites might not be a great as they’d hoped.
As The New York Times‘ Kevin Roose reports, even the alt-right’s flagship sites, like Gab (their Pepe-themed social network modeled after Twitter) and Hatreon have “long load times, broken links and frequent error messages.”
Gab was billed as an alt-tech success after raising $1 million via crowdfunding and subsequent claims of 300,000 active users (including Milo Yiannopoulos and The Daily Stormer’s Andrew Anglin), but as Roose discovered, the site is now “buggy and confusing. It appears to have fallen the way of Ello, the short-lived social network that debuted in 2014 to ample fanfare but died shortly thereafter, with only a small core of dedicated users making up its’ activity.
“I’m a creature of habit, and fell out of habit of posting there,” Pizzagate provocateur Mike Cernovich told Roose.
Hatreon, too, burst onto the scene as the alt-right’s response to GoFundMe after the popular crowdfunding site kicked users off en masse for being bigots. Despite boasting campaigns for figures like Richard Spencer (who advertises his on his newly-unverified Twitter profile), Hatreon currently is not accepting pledges because, as company founder Cody Wilson told Roose, a major credit card company “kicked Hatreon off its network last month, preventing many users from funding projects on the site and all but killing the company’s prospects for growth.”
Wilson also told Roose that he doesn’t identify as alt-right, and that building ideology-based alternatives to such giants as Facebook and Twitter might be a fool’s errand.
“I don’t understand how any of them plan to be profitable,” the Hatreon developer said.
There are countless such alt-tech sites, many of whom haven’t received even a fraction of the buzz Hatreon or Gab have.
“There is WrongThink (alt-Facebook), PewTube (alt-YouTube), Voat (alt-Reddit), Infogalactic (alt-Wikipedia) and GoyFundMe (alt-Kickstarter),” Roose notes. “There is even WASP.love, a dating site for white nationalists and others ‘wishing to preserve their heritage.'”
The writer acknowledges that it may be too soon in the Trump-fueled alt-right network craze, and that many of their proponents “are hopeful that a coming ‘purge’ on Twitter — their phrase for a change in the site’s hate speech policies, which Twitter plans to enforce beginning next week — will send scores of disgruntled users scurrying to alt-tech platforms.”
Shortly after Roose’s unflattering feature was published in the Times, Gab took to Twitter, a social network they were built in part to offer a “censorship-free” escape from, to insult Roose.