More users log on to social media underdogs
Media | MeWe, Gab, and others attract users after Parler goes down
by Sharon Dierberger
Posted 1/26/21, 03:52 pm
Since Amazon suspended the conservative-friendly social media site Parler, millions of users have tried out other Facebook and Twitter alternatives. In one week this month, the smaller social media platform MeWe added 2.5 million participants, bringing its user base to about 16 million, half of whom live outside the United States.
During the same week, Gab, a Twitter-like social media network, gained 2.3 million new users. Alternative social media sites CloutHub and Rumble also reported increased use since Parler went down.
Facebook still dominates the market with 2.7 billion users, 90 percent of them outside the United States and Canada. But more and more people, including members of U.S. Congress, are airing their frustrations with Facebook and other Big Tech giants.
Critics complain the companies collect private data for marketing, advertising, and story placement, and they lack transparency over content moderation practices—with conservatives often the losers. Conservatives accuse Google, Amazon, Apple, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook of purging their views, most recently by banning former President Donald Trump.
On MeWe, all posts appear chronologically in the order in which users create them, with no embedded advertising or news. Unlike other social media platforms, MeWe does not use an algorithm to track user data for advertisers or to create personalized news feeds.
“We don’t have trending topics. We don’t have boosted content,” MeWe CEO Mark Weinstein said. “We have absolutely no censorship for good people who follow our rules.”
The Anti-Defamation League has called on the federal government to investigate Gab, which it accuses of providing a safe haven for U.S. Capitol rioters to conspire ahead of time. CEO Andrew Torba told NPR the platform cooperates with police when asked, but does not remove content just because it’s politically incorrect.
MeWe has a content moderation team to remove unlawful posts or those inciting violence, potentially suspending or booting users or reporting them to outside authorities. He said it also relies on users to report inappropriate posts. Weinstein did not share the number of moderators MeWe employs but said it is adding more: “Social media can get messy in times like these.”
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Sharon is a correspondent and reviewer for WORLD. She is a World Journalism Institute and Northwestern University graduate. She has served as a university teacher, clinical exercise physiologist, homeschooling mom, businesswoman, and Division 1 athlete. She resides in Stillwater, Minnesota, with her husband, Bill.