Odysee, Gab, Rumble… we often hear these names or see content hosted on these platforms shared here or there on the internet
Alternative Platforms have been gaining traction these last years. With less regulation, these platforms are seen as an alternative to Facebook, YouTube and Twitter and a place were banned or “censored” users can go to express unregulated “Freedom of Speech”. These platforms encourage the migration of users and advertise their lack of regulation to attract users and to support their economic or ideological model. Paradoxically, the current moderation policies from mainstream platforms heavily relying on automated ban and algorithmic censorship also encourages malevolent actors to adopt such behaviours.
The mainstream platforms and the rest of the internet are not disconnected from these “alternative” and many backdoors, shared services or other technical ties allow interaction between the big platforms, considered “gatekeepers”, and these alternative platforms totally unregulated and proudly allowing content that has been “censored” by gatekeepers. For instance, the “share button” is a very simple way to repost in two or three clicks, antisemitic or disinformative content that has been banned from Youtube, Facebook, Twitter…
In the following month we will publish a series of articles on these platforms, exploring their design, terms of services and how they can be used by malevolent actors. These actors do not simply want an “alternative” to the mainstream platforms, they want to use both, mainstream and alternative services in order to avoid regulation but keep the ability to reach high number of mainstream users. What is the history behind Gab? how does Rumble works? what speech is banned on Odysee? these are some of the questions we will try to answer in the following articles.
Alternative Platforms, as much as they would like to operate in total autonomy without depending on big tech, can not yet be fully independent from the rest of the internet. As the name indicates, the Internet relies on interdependence and interconnections, and there is always be a point where an self proclaimed unregulated service will be connected to the regulated internet.
Thus, the regulation imposed on the mainstream platforms or responsible actors can have an impact on alternative platform. However, unless these points of connections are known, the alternative platforms can operate with the best of both system: reaching a maximum amount of people using the services of mainstream platforms and monetise disinformation or hate speech without regulation.