by Scott McKay
If we’re going to be objective about it, we’ve got to give the Mark Zuckerbergs, Jeff Bezoses and Jack Dorseys of the world their due — the apps they’ve created are some of the greatest technological marvels in history.
It’s too bad that the purveyors of the technologies Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Amazon have on offer are such profoundly myopic, evil bastards. And the events of the past week make it pretty clear that these companies are literally out to get conservative America. By extension, they’re really out to get America itself, because anyone tyrannical and dastardly enough to wish to ruin people financially and to destroy their power to speak over simple political or philosophical disagreements isn’t just a political partisan. Anybody who would do what these people did to Parler for the sin of providing a platform for conservatives to talk among each other after being persecuted by other social platforms clearly doesn’t have respect for the ideals that founded the country and bind it together still.
Today they came for Q. They’ve made it clear the other letters of the alphabet can be in the crosshairs at any time. And there is no limit to the absurdities that may follow.
Today Facebook will “fact-check” you if you turn heterodox on COVID. Tomorrow they’ll bounce you from their dating app if you stay hetero in the face of offers from trans-women (assuming there is such a thing). Don’t misgender her, you bigot!
And Jack Dorsey, the wannabe Rasputin lookalike whose mismanagement of Twitter is exceptionally likely to result in (1) a hostile takeover of the company, (2) a massive shareholder lawsuit over his dishonest public statements creating a material financial loss to their portfolios, and (3) an SEC investigation, just got himself caught on a Project Veritas tape promising that his shutdown of the president of the United States is only the beginning of a purge of conservatives.
Amid this mass removal of the masks and sudden baring of teeth with half the country being branded as untouchable by our Big Tech overlords, what’s a normal American to do?
Well, one idea to kick things off is to get Brave.
No, I don’t mean to insult your courage. I mean go and download Brave, the web browser.
So Eich went out and started a new project, and this is it.
What you’ll notice about Brave almost immediately is that it shuts off all the ads that clutter up your web browsing experience. Pages download a whole lot faster as a result, and they don’t contain all the visual pollution. Instead, Brave has its own advertising system based on something called the Basic Attention Token (BAT), which is a cryptocurrency Brave has created. You can buy BAT or earn it by looking at ads Brave will bring to you, including through push notifications if you opt in for them, and you can spend it by tipping or donating to those publishers you choose.
Whether this will ultimately work or not I can’t say, but what I can say is it’s a genius idea. Why? Because Google, Brave’s chief competitor (Chrome is 60 to 70 percent of the browser market), controls some 80 percent of the digital ad marketplace. You might hate Google, and you should, but the simple act of looking at things on the internet even if you refuse to use Chrome — if you’re using Microsoft Edge, for example — still puts cash in their pocket based on the impressions your pageviews give to their ad network. Eich has come along and nuked the entire enterprise with Brave, and for that reason alone conservatives ought to buy in.
We ought to buy in for another reason, too, which is that they’re trying to cancel Brendan Eich again. And why? Because right before Christmas he had the temerity to note that Anthony Fauci does not have a truth-telling way.
It’s becoming vitally important that every time somebody is canceled for simply voicing an opinion differing with the leftist orthodoxy we all rush in to support that person financially and otherwise. When the cancel culture can no longer inflict a net negative on people it attempts to victimize, this new cultural aggression will begin fading away. Downloading Brave and turning it into the conservative browser of choice would be an example of that.
Of course, you should be using DuckDuckGo as your search engine, but you already knew that.
If you’re already using DuckDuckGo, you’ve probably noticed how breathtakingly different the search results are from Google, particularly with respect to searches about current events or politics. DuckDuckGo doesn’t return exclusively conservative items; it spits out entries from legacy media organs as well. But there is balance. And if you search for a specific result you will get that specific result. With Google, depending on what you’re searching for, you’ll quite commonly get an opposite result to what you wanted.
What to do with social media? Well, Parler got up to 20 million users before Google, Apple, and Amazon combined to destroy their business — and by the way, some of you can kindly shut up about how they’re private companies who can do what they want; that wasn’t your line when the bakers and florists had to participate in gay weddings against their religious objections. Now they’ll have to start over, and Parler’s CEO John Matze said Wednesday it’s possible they might never be able to rebuild their platform.
Conservatives shouldn’t just wait for Parler, and we also should just get off social media altogether. Nor should we glumly accept the thin gruel Facebook and Twitter are giving us.
There’s MeWe, which I’ll confess I don’t know anything about, and there’s Gab, which has gamely hung on after having been targeted for elimination by the same nefarious SOBs who just hit Parler.
I’d like to offer another option, which is something I’ve been working on. It’s called The Speakeasy, and it just made its debut as a mobile social media app. The Speakeasy is a free-speech app built on a platform out of the UK, and we initially set it up as a mobile app for my site The Hayride. But what we’re doing with The Speakeasy is different than a lot of these other apps, and we think it’s ultimately a business model that could rethink social media the way Brave has rethought web browsing. It’s now available in both major app stores. Hopefully it stays that way, at least for a while.
You as the user are not the product with The Speakeasy like you are with Facebook and Twitter. You’re the customer. So while it’s free right now, in a few weeks it’ll carry a minuscule $2.99 per month subscription fee ($29.99 if you want to sign up for a year, giving you two months free), and for that your information won’t be sold. And you won’t be treated like a child, either — no shadow-banning, no “fact-checking,” no scolding and no Facebook jails.
Ultimately, and by ultimately I mean this spring, there will be partner publishers — bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, authors, radio hosts, and others — opening channels on the app, and they’ll be sharing in that subscription revenue based on the size of their Speakeasy following. Nobody else is really doing that right now, and the publishers I’ve talked to about the idea have been enthusiastic to say the least. Remember that Google’s domination of the digital ad space has screwed publishers, podcasters, and other content creators in exceptionally abusive ways, making monetization as an independent content creator damned near impossible. With this, monetization is virtually immediate, it’s trackable, and it’s based on simple things like content quality and hustle. The effect of this on the user is that you’re going to get more and better content on The Speakeasy than you do on Facebook and Twitter and even YouTube, because the content creators are getting rewarded for it.
We’re small so far, as we’ve just come out of beta testing mode, but the app’s following is loyal and enthusiastic. So feel free to check it out. And if you’ve got other ideas for sticking it to Big Tech the way they’ve decided to stick it to us, by all means drop them in the comments. This column is intended as a starting point for a discussion conservatives need to have now, so feel free to carry it forward.
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Scott McKay is publisher of the Hayride, which offers news and commentary on Louisiana and national politics. He’s also a novelist — check out his first book “Animus: A Tale of Ardenia,” available in Kindle and paperback.