New Twitters, Part 2 Podcast Transcript
The Bright Team
The Bright Team • Nov 28

New Twitters, Part 2 Podcast Transcript

Breaking the Feed, Social Media: Beyond the Headlines

Does the world need or want a new Twitter?  This episode, we continue to explore "New Twitter" offerings with a look at Mastodon, Cohost, Tribel, and Truth.

Taryn Ward  Hi. I'm Taryn Ward,

Steven Jones  and I'm Steven Jones,

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TW.  and this is Breaking the Feed, Social Media: Beyond the Headlines. 

SJ.  We're taking a closer look at the core issues around social media, including the rise and fall of social media empires, to better understand the role social media plays in our everyday lives and society.

TW.  Last episode, we started our exploration of some of the newer so-called copycat socials, specifically, the new and newer alternatives offered in place of "X", formerly known as Twitter. 

This episode will continue to investigate those options, beginning with Mastodon and ending with Truth Social; we'll also keep our core question from last time in mind: does the world need or want a new Twitter? And if so, why?

TW.   Mastodon is a great place to start because, in many ways, it's been the most successful alternative offered to date. Macedon was first launched in 2016 but only really gained popularity in late 2022. When people on Twitter really started to announce that they were leaving Twitter for Mastodon. It's right now probably the most well-known and well-used Twitter alternative. Why? This is a great place to think about what it was or is about Twitter that people want to hold on to, even as Twitter continues to become something different and think about which features Mastodon sort of carries over. So, what is Mastodon?

Mastodon is a decentralised social network made up of independent servers organised around specific themes, topics and interests. How does it work? Individual users join servers, follow other people and then share it engage with content. You can also scroll through a feed and explore new topics. The decentralisation lemon is worth talking about. Mastodon is actually made up of 1000s of independent servers or many social media networks or forums. So, when you join, you can join any server and engage with others on different servers within the Mastodon universe. But you still need to choose a host server to start. Another key difference from Twitter. You can't start a thread in the same way. But you can reply to yourself in create a thread of sorts. So, it's sort of similar and different. Finally, Mastodon is a nonprofit, and it has committed publicly to never selling ads or pushing some profiles above others. 

That all sounds pretty good. A few concerns that we would flag up for you. The first is content moderation is already really challenging on centralised platforms, and regulators have had a really difficult time with us. The decentralisation element adds a layer of complexity and, therefore, risk. So, things like abuse and harassment, mis- and disinformation. All of those things remain real concerns and, in some ways, might even be bigger concerns on something like Mastodon. One example to think about is even though Mastodon itself is a nonprofit and has committed to not pushing ads, that doesn't necessarily mean that individual servers can't easily work around this.

SJ.  Thanks for that description. Taryn, it's really helpful to set the scene for everyone I've played with a little bit, and I must admit, I would share all of your concerns. I think the moderation piece, you know, that's something which is concerned us deeply as we think about how we build Bright out to provide that venue for discussion, which is, I think what Twitter was good at. So, you want you want people to be able to exchange views. But obviously, you do want to be able to control egregious mis and disinformation lies, propaganda, and abuse, and we know what happens on the internet if you let people become people, right? I mean, there is an appetite for that otherwise, 4chan and 8Chan would never have existed. People wouldn't have trained AI to say racist and, you know, misogynistic things very, very quickly. I remember that experiment. It was not long ago before chat TP Umm Chat GPT, obviously. So, that is a bit of a problem, isn't it? I mean, moderating the experience appropriately, carefully, thoughtfully, is is key to creating that space where people can chat.

TW.  Absolutely, and they are going to have to grapple with this and so our regulators because they're not the only decentralised network out there, although this seems to have sort of been a really popular thing when everybody was talking about Web3.0 and NFT's, you know, a year ago and since then, I think a lot of people have backed off a little bit and there have been more conversations, thankfully around some of the real challenges around running a social network or any other kind of network that way. So, our conclusions on Mastodon are, you know, importantly for this episode, it just doesn't feel like Twitter. So, from onboarding to engaging, although it's understandable why people would be willing to try something new and something that's pretty different, even where it's a substantial change given what's happened at Twitter. It's just not quite the same; there's a potential here to fill some of the gaps that Twitter could leave or has left so far. But it's not a smooth transition or a complete replacement, especially for average or casual Twitter users. 

SJ.  Yeah, and one of the things you said earlier on sort of flagged for me the problem that any of these networks have been particularly Mastodon, which is genuinely trying to replace or be a replacement for Twitter is, people announced that they were leaving Twitter, on Twitter, because everybody either they wanted to talk to was on Twitter. 

So, you know, God knows I have, you know, I am constantly looking at "X", formerly known as Twitter. But I don't enjoy any of that experience for all sorts of reasons, and I think it's deteriorated significantly. So, I'd love to find a different platform. This one, maybe, just doesn't have the critical mass yet, and I think this is a problem that everyone will have, and if you're, if you're branding yourself as the new Twitter, then how are you going to get the people who are, the rest of the people who are on Twitter to get to Mastodon or whatever platform you're launching? And do you have to rely on the man himself, Mr Elon "I want to live on Mars" Musk, to just drive people off Twitter? If that's your marketing strategy, then I think you've got a bit of a problem. So, you know, getting those users is surely going to be a bit of a problem, even if people and advertisers have left. 

TW.  Right, so speaking of big names, you know, we've said that right now, Mastodon is probably the most successful new Twitter. But it is worth noting that Jack Dorsey's new network, Blue Sky Social, hasn't launched to the public yet. So, you know, it may not take Elon Musk, but maybe somebody like Jack Dorsey will be a big enough draw, and we will, we will follow that closely and report back. 

So, one other social network that I think fewer people are familiar with but worth just having a quick look at is something called Co-Host. So, one thing that we've done with some of the others is to really take a look at how these platforms or social networks describe themselves. So, I'll pull a couple of quotes from their website. The first is "A new social media platform built from the ground up by a small team of developers and designers who like sharing things on the internet". Sounds pretty good, I think that's a pretty good start. Then they say, "No ads, no tracking forever," and then "Algorithm, what algorithm?" and finally, "Give us a few bucks a month. Soon, we'll let you take tips and sell subscriptions". So, you know, at this point, it's interesting, right? It's a different approach. It's something that, you know, maybe it'll feel like Twitter, but not. Unfortunately, the signup was a little bit clumsy. It was one of those things where you get the error message and your email address and your password before you've even finished typing it, which can be a little bit annoying. But I think more than that, it's it's still pretty limited with a lot of niche content, and this goes to your sort of cold-start problem that happens on a lot of networks. But there has to be something that keeps people coming back during those early days, and right now, each post takes up a lot of real estate. So, it requires a lot of scrolling effort, and I don't think my thumbs are particularly lazy, but it requires a lot of scrolling effort to get from one post to the next, and I would say that right now, at least for me, the quality of the content doesn't justify the effort, and that's going to be a big problem that I think they have other concerns worth mentioning. Right now, there's no clear, obvious way to access the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy or Community Guidelines without scrolling all the way to the bottom of all the posts, and that's typically not a good sign. So, if those policies are really easy to find and access and to sort of process, often, there's a reason, you know, in this case, you know, it's also unclear if there is any identity verification, or if people are just being added in batches, and it's also unclear whether and how community guidelines are enforced. So, you know, some good ideas here, but I think also some real concerns about how it's going to actually work.

SJ.  Yeah, this one is sort of interesting because we would agree on many of those points. We also think that a subscription is a good way to run a social media business; if you want to keep it ad-free, tracking-free, and "digital surveillance economy" free, someone has to pay, and subscriptions are, you get what you pay for always. Right? 

I'm a little bit concerned about the algorithm. I mean, for sure, algorithms can be badly written to prioritise increasingly extreme content. We see that on Meta and Twitter, err "X" but no algorithm at all makes it difficult to compete with these highly curated algorithmically driven social media that people often really like, despite complaining that they don't, they don't see their friend's content anymore. I do like the idea that you know, you will, you'll be able to reward good content creators directly. I think that's that's thinking about, you know, where your content is going to come from and supporting people. The question would be, you know, is this Uber because, technically, Uber drivers are paid? But, you know, I think there's a lot of concern, particularly in this country, about the pain conditions that they work under, and if you're going to try and capture a younger demographic, who were perhaps a little bit more conscious of those issues, that might be a bit problematic for you. I agree with the comment on the terms and conditions and humanist status if you, if you're pleased with them, if you're proud of them, if you think they benefit the content producers and the users, then you should make it extremely easy to read them and find them, and if you're not a bit of a red flag, right, and maybe it's just thoughtless website designed. Maybe it's not, but that would be a bit of a red flag for me, and, as you said, content, early-stage, is always a problem, and one that pretty much everybody has to deal with people were very happy, you know, not having much content on Twitter when it came up, because there was nothing to compare it with, and this is the advantage that Facebook and Twitter had it was first of the market, and so it didn't matter. Now it does.

TW.  Yeah, I think all of that is right, and to your point about the Policies and Community Guidelines is obviously I agree with, and I think, you know, as you said, some of it is maybe poor website design. But I think even if you're not hiding those things, it tells you where priorities are and where they aren't, and this may be the lawyer in me. But I think that is, that should be something that any social network really prioritises. So for all those reasons, our conclusion on this one is that it's still really early days. But at the moment, it's really too niche and clumsy, and engagement is too limited to be a serious contender as an alternative or replacement for Twitter. 

Moving on now, we're going to talk about two social networks that are sort of similar and different. So, both of these networks are designed in fairly honest about who they're meant to appeal to, I say fairly honest, because there are sort of subtle hints about who they're really made for. But both platforms claim to be for everyone and welcoming to all. 

So the first one is called Tribel. So, sometimes Tribel has been described as a left-leaning, Twitter-like app, and at one point, Elon Musk was rumoured to want to acquire this platform. Obviously, that didn't happen or hasn't happened to date. But Tribel is also sometimes described as the left's answer to Truth Social, which will be the next platform we look at. So, it's always worth looking at how these networks describe themselves. So, in this case, the headline for Tribel is "Social media done right". Now, it's difficult to know exactly what this means because it's difficult to find any information about who they are, what they are, why they're doing what they do, you have to sort of jump around to various different places and sources to figure out what this is all about, which again, is never a good site. So, their Instagram account bio says, where a new bigotry-free social network where kindness and intelligence flourish. flourish caught my eye because that was one of the words we used early on in some of our marketing. So, it just kind of made me smile. 

Twitter says their Twitter bio says, "We're an innovative pro-democracy, Twitter alternative that's free of hatred and fake news". So, again, at this point, anybody who's reading this, it sort of sounds like it's meant to appeal to everyone. But, there are some buzzwords in here that indicate to me there is a certain part of the political spectrum that this is designed to appeal to, and the more you dig, the more it becomes apparent that this is true. So, I'm not I'm not just taking shots in the dark here. 

Now, one of our concerns here is that it's unclear really how Tribel intends to accomplish any of these things. So, particularly because it's currently free. So, this means we're probably looking at an advertising revenue model sooner or later. There's no identity verification. So, even if there are rules, not that I could find them, and even if these rules are somehow enforced, there's nothing that stops people from creating new accounts over and over and over and over and over again. Not that anyone on the internet would ever do anything like that. But it opens up the possibility. 

SJ.  I mean, like no one on the internet behaves badly ever, right? It is a paragon of human excellence. This is an interesting one, right? Because they, in addition to everything, all the little progressive dog whistles, which are hidden, how can we say progressive dog whistles? I mean, they are sort of like little hints that attract people on the left of the political spectrum, I guess.  They have used the Twitter account "Occupy Democrats" to advertise quite extensively in the past and get people to sign up. So, that's a pretty clear sign that they are, indeed, trying to hit that wing. You know, if you want to keep something nice, if you want to keep the bigotry out, you should probably tell people what is considered hate and bigotry. If you want intelligence and conversation to flourish, it can't be something "I don't like". It's got to be something which is actually really bigoted and hate-filled, you know because I think freedom of expression or freedom of speech if you're North American, is extremely important on the internet, we do want that, but we don't want is what we'll be talking about in a bit. Where freedom of expression is an excuse to say absolutely hateful and awful things which are not true and denigrate people based on certain characteristics they can't control. So, yeah, the absence of rules on the platform, which is marketing itself, in this way, seems to me to be a really huge problem because how do we know? And how do we know they're going to moderate this stuff? Like this is really important, and we've spent, because this is actually important to us, we spent a lot of time thinking about this for Bright, and we try and make it as clear as possible to people, right? And without ID verification, as you say, how do you deal with it?

TW.  Importantly, you mentioned "Occupy Democrats" in what you just said, and actually, the same people who own that website, Rafael Rivero and Omar Rivero, own Tribel. So, as I said, we weren't,  you know, it wasn't a stab in the dark about who this is meant to appeal to. It's pretty clear, even before you get into the app, who this is made for. So, speaking of getting into the app, let's talk about how this actually works. 

To view contents, you have to click Accept on a window informing you that there is an updated Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. So, this is very annoying and problematic. But more than that, it doesn't even look like you can click through on the Terms of Service or Privacy Policy because they're not underlined or bolded. You can actually if you hover over it, but that's not really how it's supposed to work. So, again, a very, very fast red flag. So, after you click through, which you again, you don't have any choice over, you can view content without creating an account or signing in, there's a bar at the top, both on the website and in the app, inviting you to grow together through an opportunity to invest as little as $250 in Tribel. There's little other information about what Tribel is or how it works. But if you click through, you can see that they've raised just over $2.7 million out of their nearly $5 million goal, and you can watch the video, which you should see for yourself, but which I can only describe as anxiety-inducing.

And you know, let's say after all of this, you do create an account, and as we did actually, some months ago, now you have to create an account to engage with content, as far as I can tell, and then you'll be invited to choose a username. 

So, you know fairly standard things, you then have to choose notification settings. So, note that the default here is to receive a whole lot of annoying interruptions to your day. So, take a look at these closely unless you want to start getting noisy pings and emails every time there's a new post. So, then after you get to after you get through that stage, it will ask for you to invite contacts. So, it asks pretty quickly to access your contacts to invite or to discover your friends. Just for clarity. I declined all that. So, I wanted to have a fresh experience and not to have, you know, not to be dragged down any specifically. You can also choose dark mode or not. 

In this instance, I wasn't invited to follow any accounts. So, I didn't again, I didn't want to skew what that experience would look like for anyone else. There are four types of feeds offered at the top:

  • Friends, this was empty for me because I didn't have any very sad 
  • Following, again empty because I didn't follow anyone and then 
  • Breaking and 
  • Trending

So, it's worth thinking about this trending feed. So, I'll go through what mine looked like. So, my trending feed started with an elephant crossing the road at the top. Then a post about Donald Trump throwing in this as a quote, "a humiliating courtroom hissy fit in his New York fraud trial." Another post about Donald Trump's quote, "Launching his most deranged attack yet", and this was actually a repost of the post below that from Occupy Democrats. Then there was a kitten having its belly rubbed or tickled with the caption, "More Tickles, Please"; a post that says, "Giuliani to lose his second attorney in Georgia, leaving him without local legal representation"; and then oh, sorry, this was from account. Ridin with Biden, a clever play on words. If a bit, well, a clever play on words, let's leave it at that. A post advising me not to buy certain plants from Home Depot because they were treated with a chemical I can't pronounce. But that is apparently approved by the EPA, a video post of snow falling and Kyoto, a video post of water on Lake Como; another "Ridin with Biden post", a video of a boxer, the dog, not the profession, dancing in the rain with the caption "Boxers are such goofy dogs"; a shared article with the caption "Exclusive US will transfer weapons seized from Iran to Ukraine" from CNN Politics with a photo of rows and rows of large guns lined up, and so on. 

So, I think that gives you a pretty good idea of what is happening in this field, and our concerns reflect that. So, we have all the concerns from the existing major platforms, including privacy, abuse and harassment, mis- and disinformation, with a layer of echo chambers, and this is, you know, for Tribel and for truth. This is a real and genuine concern because it means people don't really have an opportunity to hear or consider the other side. As a consequence, our conclusion on this one is that it just doesn't feel like Twitter. It doesn't it doesn't seem like a place to actually discuss anything much like Truth Social. But for the left, it's more echo chamber than arena, and in speaking, people should we would actually expect this network to really appeal to, you know, they described becoming bored quite quickly, and feeling like it was the same takes over and over again, without any real discussion.

SJ.  Yeah, I absolutely agree with everything that you've said. In fact, my feed is almost exactly the same, except the video of the snow in Kyoto and the video of Lake Como didn't load. They were just spinning. I think this goes to this these key points with what made Twitter, Twitter and we, you know, we've talked about the problems late latterly, with Twitter, Pershore in previous episodes, but snappy short, both sides having a discussion and what one of the things which went wrong was that that deteriorated into an argument rather than the discussion. It's very difficult to find reasoned conversation, you know, on Twitter, and we should be interested in both sides and normally, people spend quite a lot of money developing an algorithm that will create an echo chamber for you so that you will spend more and more time on the platform looking at the ads they put out, right? I mean, that's what this is about. They deliberately create those echo chambers. So, you'll see things which you will agree with, and then occasionally something which will enrage you, just to keep you on the platform looking at the ads, they're pretty up. Problem with Tribel is it's done that just by existing, it doesn't want to have a conversation. How can I mean, actually, you know, if you think about the Democratic Party in the United States, it is quite capable of arguing with itself. You're whether you're a pure enough believer in all of the things that the one end stands for or not, but it's not an engaging argument is going to be really annoying, and we do need to have that discussion, and there's one or two reasons we're on social media, right? If all you can do is say yes, I vehemently agree with what you said. Well done. Oh, chap. That's it. The comments section dies. So, purely, like structurally in for society, echo chambers are bad, but purely from enjoying the platform. That's not going to be fun, is it?

TW. No, and that's really what we've heard. That's the feedback we've had, and I think it was our experience, really on both platforms, that by the end, we were more disgusted with both political parties than when we had started, and not that there was far to fall. But yet, somehow, in the end, we were still more fed up. So, let's turn to the opposite side of the same coin and think about Truth Social. 

Truth Social was founded in October of 2021. by former US President Donald Trump, Truth Social has faced a number of regulatory issues and financial hurdles. You know, just for context, Trump first raised the potential of building Truth Social after he was banned from Facebook and Twitter after the US Capitol attack. Thinking about how Truth Social sees itself and describes itself, "America's big tent social media platform that encourages an open, free and honest global conversation without discriminating on the basis of political ideology". 

That is a mouthful. There's a lot there and also a lot of nothing there. But what's really concerning, there's little other information about what Truth is about on the website. But loads of other sources have plenty to say. So, don't worry. There is one interesting bit about content moderation from their website, FAQs that, that I think is worth sharing. So, the question is, "Could you please suspend a user I dislike?" And the answer is "Generally not, provided the users' post complies with our Terms of Service?" This is interesting because although this sounds like "lawyer speak" for "it depends."  It's really unnecessary. Or it should be unnecessary because there are plenty of other places in the FAQs that have a simple, no, or some other very straightforward answer. Here. They could have just said, No, we don't ban other people from the network because you don't like them without cause. Of course, we don't. But you can mute or block accounts as you see fit. But they're careful here to say generally not. So, I think it's worth thinking about what they're really saying here. 

SJ.  What that sounds like to me is: "We might if we don't like what they're saying, if it offends our sensibilities", despite what our advertising says about being a big tent that won't discriminate on the basis of political ideology, wants suspects, there's an element of as long as it's our political ideology, it won't matter how extreme you take it. But if it's a different political ideology, then maybe if someone complains, we will kick you off it that that that seems to be the general shape and feel of that piece of advertising. Right? That's, that's really troubling, and given everybody involved in this, it shouldn't surprise anyone that that's the case.

TW.  I think that's right. When I when we were initially talking about doing this episode, I was thinking about this as a differentiator from Twitter. But actually, there have been some allegations recently that similar things are happening on Twitter. So, I think for now. Unfortunately, we have to put this in the unclear category as to whether this makes true social more or less like Twitter, without commenting on, you know, which we think is probably right, based on the evidence, it is worrying that those are conversations that people are having more broadly about a lot of social media networks.

But what is Truth Social? So, we're talking about it sort of theoretically and how they see themselves, but how does it function? Very briefly, exactly how you would expect any standard social media app to operate and has the same features the same functions as we've been talking about. It's often described as a Twitter clone, and, you know, like we did with Tribel, it's worth just describing what my feed looks like. 

So, again, they recommended different accounts for me to follow. I clicked yes for the first 10 but haven't connected with anyone else, haven't followed any other accounts, and haven't engaged. So, this should be sort of the standard or as close to a standard feed as what you would get on Truth Social. So, I opened the app this morning, and this is what my feed looks like in order we're not playing any games. First up, a post from Donald Trump, which was a video encouraging people to separate what they've heard from his results. So, in other words, you know, I know you've probably heard these terrible things about me. But let's look at what I've actually done, sort of a video post, a post from an account called Cat Turd that says good morning to everyone, especially last night's winner of the Republican debate. Donald J. Trump. (Sidenote: if you didn't know, he chose not to participate in that debate as well as the first one), and then, in his advert for a limited edition Viper titanium money clip, I have no idea what that is or why Truth Social thinks I would want one. But again, I think that makes it pretty clear that they haven't quite been able to profile me yet. A post from Charlie Kirk with a link to his podcast, discussing whether RFK Jr. is hurting Biden or Trump more. Another post from Trump reposting a support post from Scott Walker, another post from Trump with a video promoting himself. Then another post from Trump with a video promoting himself, another ad for a titanium Viper money clip they really want me to buy this thing I did not click through it at any point and Other Trump posts with a video of him with Ron DeSantis with a caption "Ron De sanctimonious" three more Trump posts and so on. That's what Truth Social looks like. 

SJ.  That is too much Trump in the morning, even for Melania. Seriously, if this is a social network, where are the people posting? I mean, with the exception of Mr. Cat Turd, and, you know, maybe I'm being unfair. It could be Marjorie Taylor Greene. But I mean, it feels like that would be the sort of name that some dysfunctional man would pick, and you see, where's the so where's the source? Where are the people? Where's the network? Where's the conversation? And the value of titanium, aside from a Viper money clip, tells me they don't have anybody else advertising on this network. Because why? Who uses money like money is going out of style? Right? has done since the pandemic. So, yeah, that's a bit odd. Really, if this goes to one of the problems with a politician of any stripe, forming a social network, and let's be honest, calling it Truth was a little bit on the nose because those of us who were old enough to remember the Cold War, but remember that the Soviet newspaper was called Pravda, which was also the Russian for truth, and was entirely a propaganda arm of the Communist Party of the former Soviet Union. You know, I mean, you're not supposed to make it obvious for people what you're doing. That's like a rookie mistake. Surely? So, yeah, I mean, that is a huge problem for me. I mean, I, and to be clear, I would not care if it was a democratic labour, conservative Republican politician, you shouldn't have a major social network, which operates effectively as your mouthpiece, because that's the only thing this can mean if your feed is full of that. It either means nobody else is talking, or the algorithm is pushing everything that Mr Trump is putting out, and that that's, I mean, that's bad for the network, regardless and bad, bad for society, you know, and has a lot in common with the previous one, you know, this, this super toxic echo chamber, social media has the problem that people spend an awful lot of time scrolling it, right. That's it, it's exceptionally problematic. So, I don't know, Taryn, what did you think of that feed? When you looked at it?

TW.  I thought it was interesting, and I think that's a good opportunity to talk about some of our concerns because I think you did a good job of outlining quite a few of them there has the content of my news feed, or whatever they call the feed sort of did too. So,, you know, in addition to all of the standard concerns that come along with a social media platform, that depends on ad revenue, that doesn't verify the identity of users, and in this case, some unique censorship allegations and problems there. The deeper issue with this one is that it is owned by a former president of the United States. But it's nearly impossible to overestimate the dangers of one person who has an exceptional amount of political power owning and controlling a social media network. If you think about Elon Musk on Twitter and the dangers that present, and then if you think about Donald Trump when he was on Twitter but didn't own it, and now you sort of have combined these, or you have the potential of combining these If Truth ever became as big as Twitter did, it starts to paint a really worrying picture, and to that end, it's worth not just looking at what my feed looked like today, but going back a few days. So, Trump suggested that the medium is guilty of treason, and he suggested that General Mark Milley, the United States' highest military officer, deserves execution, and suggested that the FBI should read the homes of Senate Democrats. Now, whatever your political orientation, this is not what we expect from politicians in the West and how they communicate with the public, and there's good reason for that because there are people always who will take these things seriously, even if the politicians themselves doesn't. Whether or not that's the case here. I really couldn't say. But it is very worrying, and more than that, you know, we're here in the United Kingdom, and I can say with some certainty that if Americans think other countries aren't noticing, that is very much not the case. This is a topic of conversation in this country on a daily basis, and the position has largely become tied to this idea that the US has no grounds to criticise the freedom of the press or free expression in countries like China or Russia and that's really troubling because there are very good reasons to criticise freedom of expression in Free Press in a lot of different countries. But under the current circumstances, it's becoming a tougher and tougher sell. 

SJ.  It's really difficult to sort of explain, I think, how important this is and how dangerous it is to the fabric of society, and whilst we did say, you know, Tribel is pretty bad because it's an echo chamber, it's a completely different level of bad this, and it would be in a, you know, it would be if this was a democratic President if Biden was actually, you know, creating his own sort of network and was saying these things or Hillary when she was defeated by Trump had done this and started calling for the this sort of behaviour, then I would be saying exactly the same things. This is absolutely unacceptable, and the network shouldn't be able to do it and let's be honest, one of the reasons this network was created was because Twitter, after January, the sixth, kicked the former President Trump out because he was apparently guilty of, you know, allegedly supporting seditious conspiracy to subvert the transfer of power and harm members of Congress and his own vice president. So, it's not like this isn't a pre-existing behaviour. But now, he's this is the man who said he had the best generals, and now he wants people to go out and execute one, and there are crazy people out there who might try it. 

TW.  What if this had been somebody else? So what if former US President Barack Obama had started his own social media network, and instead of saying things like the FBI should XXX rolledXXX, Republicans said things like, I really love my wife, look at these beautiful flowers I picked, I love my daughters, and over time, people just got used to this idea that this was a great place to interact and define good information, and quietly, he was controlling what people see, and how they engage with each other online. I think we would all agree that that would be really dangerous, and we would never see it coming. So, in a way, I guess we could be thankful that, in this case, it is so obviously problematic and so extreme that we can all say, WOW, this is this, nobody wants this. We just have to take that opportunity, I think and say, Oh, I don't know that this is a good set for any new Twitter. Because if it ever became anything like what Twitter is; it would be really worrying. So, I think, needless to say, our conclusion, Truth Social is thankfully not the new Twitter. It is a place like Tribel, where if you have a very set. If you have some very set political views and want to only discuss it with other people, you can find some content here that will, you know, scratch that itch, but it's not something we could recommend to anyone. 

Next time, we'll wrap up our exploration and discussion of Twitter alternatives, including looking at Jack Dorsey's Blue Sky and several other challenger networks, including one founded by some other former Twitter employees. In the meantime, we'll post a transcript of this episode with references on our website. 

You can find this and more information about us at

SJ.  Until next time, I'm Steven Jones,

TW.  and I'm Taryn Ward.

SJ.  Thank you for joining us for breaking the feed social media beyond the headlines.

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