In the aftermath of Trump’s defeat, the app skyrocketed to the top of Google and Apple app stores, a reaction, in part, to Twitter’s heightened fact-checking on the bogus allegations of electoral fraud the president and his allies were circulating.
“Speaking’s positioning as a receptacle for Trump’s MAGA supporters is part of a long-standing trend by conservatives to threaten an exodus from Twitter over allegations of censorship and persecution,” said Karim Zidan, reporter for the Right Wing Watch left watch group. “The heavy moderation of Twitter posts involving conspiracy theories of electoral fraud and disinformation has prompted MAGA supporters to slowly switch to Speaking under the guise of free speech.
A pro-Trump platform for the folks at MAGA to punish Twitter was not how Speaking marketed itself when it launched. Indeed, earlier this year CEO and Founder John Matze offered a $ 20,000 ‘bonus’ to all progressive pundits with at least 50,000 Twitter followers who switched platforms – an attempt to bring in Monetizable and partisan fights on the Internet on the platform. But until the election, the site was heavily populated with Republican politicians and top MAGA conservatives on the Internet squatting their accounts to prevent impostors.
In recent weeks, however, the site has become a central hub for Trump followers looking for evidence of the widespread voter fraud they allege.
Some of the far-right journalists who cover these claims on Twitter – and frequently exaggerate the conclusions of their reports – have even asked their followers to migrate to their Unvarnished Speak for History accounts.
“If I’m censored covering the Georgia recount, follow me on Speak, too.” tweeted Heather Mullins, reporter for conservative media outlet Real America’s Voice, whom Trump has retweeted several times since the election.
On Speak, dozens of MAGA influencers are posting disproved claims about Dominion and Smartmatic, two voting technology companies, “removing” hundreds of thousands of Trump votes.
And people on the site have in recent days started attacking Fox News host Tucker Carlson after he aired a segment pointing out that Sidney Powell, one of the lawyers leading Trump’s legal battle to quash the election, had refused. to provide him with evidence to support the Dominion Claims.
A sign of the Twitter / Talk split, Carlson’s pullout went viral on Twitter, while a video of Powell refuting Carlson on Fox Business Network spread all over Talk.
Speak has also hosted dozens of videos from the Million MAGA March, the pro-Trump protest that took place outside the White House last Saturday. The clips were broadcast in an attempt to prove the danger posed by antifa agents and Black Lives Matter activists attacking MAGA acolytes, labeling the clashes as “terrorist attacks”. One video in particular went viral, portraying what appeared to be unprovoked left-wing activists defeating a Trump supporter.
When the same videos circulated on Twitter, others attempted to point out missing context.
For example, investigative reporter Robert Evans of Bellingcat, a news outlet focused on fact-checking and open-source intelligence examination, noted that the viral video did not show the apparent Trump supporter appearing for the first time. “ to push, hit and threaten a number of people before being brutally assaulted himself.
According to police records from the DC Metropolitan Police Department, the event does not appear to be marked by violence. The Department said there were 21 arrests during the event, only a handful of which were for potentially violent incidents. A man was arrested for throwing fireworks at protesters, police records show. Another man from Staten Island was arrested after police said he attacked a potential thief with a pole. Four other people were arrested for attempting – and failing – to incite violence, according to records. And after a Georgian couple who came to “support their president” were arrested for openly carrying semi-automatic weapons.
While the logs are not a full account of the day’s skirmishes – other cases likely occurred without police intervention or simply went unnoticed – they do not show major street brawls, looting or robbery. windows broken, as the people at Parler have suggested.
Parler’s underlying energy also comes from MAGA influencers who have moved elsewhere and found a new home at Parler.
“Thank you to all my great supporters; here, online and on the street, ” posted Hopkins, a British commentator who was permanently suspended from Twitter after violating the company’s hate speech policy in July. Her ban had cost her more than a million followers, but she was recovering: she now had 421,000 subscribers on Parler.
Parler’s biggest victory after the election, however, was that top-level conservatives and lawmakers began to engage frequently with the site. After previously treating their presence on the app as superficial, GOP politicians and top conservatives are now turning to the Talking bunker, as they increasingly see their tweets being labeled – and invalidated – as misinformation about Twitter.
Often these people present migration as a matter of making sure their voices are heard, in case, as conservative radio host Mark Levin said, Facebook and Twitter “continue to censor me”.
Whether Talking can actually scale and present a reliable challenge to Twitter or Facebook is another question. It could just follow the path of other right-wing media projects and seemingly stay on the sidelines.
“Self-segmentation of this Talking group will intensify their extremism. No doubt about it, ”said Carusone of Media Matters. “But it will also weaken the influence of the right by siphoning off a segment of users, many of whom will be the most engaged users.”
And that cannot replace an effective legal strategy to contest the election. So far, the Republican lawsuits have failed to make any progress in reversing the initial vote count.
This is a point even some pro-Trump allies are making. In a Nov. 13 appearance on Fox Business Network, GOP congressman Devin Nunes featured questions from Lou Dobbs, a nominally pro-Trump presenter, who asked him bluntly if the GOP had a legal plan. to save Trump.
“To win these battles,” Nunes said, “we have to have a place to communicate. When you ask, what do we do now, which is why millions of Americans are flocking to Speak. They flock to Rumble.
“Good Lord, Congressman,” Dobbs replied. “With all due respect, Congressman, and I truly respect you – pushing Talk and Rumble is not an answer to what I’m asking.”