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Why do powerful men want their own social media platforms

Angry at being kicked-out, control freaks, tired of guardrails or something else?

It started with Donald Trump and ‘Truth Social’, then Elon Musk and ‘Twitter’, and, most recently, Kayne West (aka Ye) and ‘Parler’.

Wadda ‘ya think? Are these men looking for power? For an uncensored voice? Or just a place where they can’t be locked out? Let’s call this a rhetorical question.

TruthSocial

Donald Trump had 90 million followers on Twitter and tweeted more than 50,000 times before being banned from this heavy-hitting platform, which boasts more than 200 million daily active users.

The U.S. Capitol Attack changed everything for POTUS45, and ultimately led to the formation of TruthSocial after he was completely banned from social media. Suddenly, what some called “verbal diarrhea” came to a screeching halt.

According to Mr. Trump, the mission of TruthSocial is “… to create a rival to the liberal media consortium and fight back against the Big Tech companies.” TruthSocial defines itself as “America’s “Big Tent” social media platform that encourages open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating on the basis of political ideology”.

Launched in February, TruthSocial has struggled with a host of financial, legal and technical troubles. By no means has it been a slam-dunk, as some thought it would be. Right now, new web users are unable to join TruthSocial.

Most people never take the time to read Terms & Conditions. TruthSocial has some surprising ones:

  • Users are “forbidden to disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the Site”. Isn’t that censorship?
  • TruthSocial has the right “to suspend or terminate your account” and “take appropriate legal action”. Isn’t that cancel culture?

Twitter

Twitter has been called the SMS of the Internet. According to its co-founder:

“… we came across the word ‘twitter’, and it was just perfect. The definition was “a short burst of inconsequential information”, and “chirps from birds”. And that’s exactly what the product was.” (Jack Dorsey, Co-Founder, Twitter)

Enter Elon Musk. The man with seemingly bottomless pockets and $44 billion to hand over to Twitter shareholders as he takes the Company private. According to a Delaware judge, he must close the deal by Friday if he wishes to end a bitter legal battle with Twitter and avoid a high-profile trial.

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.” (Elon Musk, billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX)

Elon Musk wants Twitter to allow any form of free speech, as long as it is legal. He’s already said he’d reactivate Donald Trump’s shuttered Twitter account. He wants to shift away from making money from digital advertising, to charging users subscription fees, licensing data and building out a payments business. In his mind:

“Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app.” (Elon Musk, billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, likely purchaser of Twitter)

And here’s a piece of advice Jack Dorsey recently gave to Elon:

“I believe [Twitter] must be an open-source protocol, funded by a foundation of sorts that doesn’t own the protocol, only advances it. A bit of like what Signal has done. It can’t have an advertising model. Otherwise you have surface area that governments and advertisers will try to influence and control. If it has a centralized entity behind it, it will be attacked.” (Jack Dorsey, Co-Founder, Twitter)

Mr. Musk is a self-professed “free speech absolutist” and a demonstrably erratic person. How this ends can only be speculation.

Parler

Rapper and apparel magnate Kayne West (aka Ye) has also had his troubles with social media, having experienced cancel culture first-hand recently.

Launched in 2018, Parler is the social media platform of Nashville-based Parlement Technologies. It is said to have about 40,000 daily active users – a small fish in a big pond.

Parler calls itself “the pioneering uncancellable free speech platform”. It says its more hands-off approach to content moderation ensures that all voices can be heard. This anything-goes ethos is a hallmark of Parler, which has had a turbulent history since its inception.

“In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial, we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves.” (Ye)

“Ye is making a ground-breaking move into the free speech media space and will never have to fear being removed from social media again. Once again, Ye proves that he is one step ahead of the legacy media narrative.” (George Farmer, CEO, Parler)

Ye hopes to conclude the purchase of Parler by the end of this year.

It’s a social media Wild West out there right now. Is digital discourse evolving? No doubt about it. A lot has changed since Twitter burst onto the scene in 2006.

Let’s just remember one thing: the future of social media is up to all of us, as social media relies on us to be viable.  

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” (Barack Obama, POTUS44)

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” (Mahatma Ghandi, Political ethicist)

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