Gab instead of Twitter, MeWe over Facebook, Telegram for messaging, and Discord for insiders — banned from mainstream platforms, US conspiracy and supremacist movements, many of which support Donald Trump, have shifted to networks that are more confidential, and harder to regulate.
“The most extreme Trump supporters were already on alternative platforms,” said Nick Backovic, a researcher at Logically.AI, a company specializing in digital disinformation.
“The fact that Facebook and Twitter took so long to (ban them) allowed influencers to rebuild conversation and groups almost seamlessly.”
After the deadly January 6 attack in Washington, when hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol, the major social networks took action against the organizations involved, such as the Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, and Proud Boys.
Facebook stepped up its purges of accounts linked to armed movements — nearly 900 accounts in total were shut down. Twitter has permanently banned Trump and shuttered 70,000 accounts affiliated with QAnon, a conspiracy theory that claims the former president is engaged in a battle against a global cult of elite Satan-worshipping pedophiles.
“Deplatforming works,” said Jim Steyer, president of the organization Common Sense Media. “Now that you look at Trump not being on Twitter, he lost his big speaker, his amplification microphone to the world.”