The word “alt-tech” has been around for a while, but it has only been in the last few years that the term has taken off in popularity.
So what exactly is alt-tech and where did this term come from? Let’s take a closer look.
What Is “Alt-Tech”?
Alt-tech describes the websites and platforms that provide services such as video hosting and social media which are popular among users with “alternative right” (alt-right) and far-right opinions.
These websites and platforms usually describe themselves as free speech defenders and individual liberty advocates, and often have less stringent content moderation policies.
How Did the Alt-Tech Space Emerge?
Alt-tech websites and platforms have been around since the 2010s. Towards the mid-to-late half of the decade, a number of right-wing leaders and groups were “deplatformed” from mainstream big-tech websites, such as Facebook and YouTube, which led to a surge in the popularity of alt-tech websites.
The deplatforming of far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from Facebook and other big tech platforms in 2018 marked a turning point for the popularity of alt-tech websites.
In 2018, the Britain First Facebook page was also removed from the social media platform. Like Alex Jones, the Britain First page was wildly popular online with over two million likes, making it the second most liked Facebook page for British politics at its time of removal.
The alt-tech space received another rush of new users when the sitting president of the United States Donald Trump’s Facebook and Twitter pages were suspended. The pages were suspended in response to the storming of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Following this, Parler was also scrubbed from the web for a month when Amazon Web Services stopped hosting its website.
Many alt-tech websites, such as Parler, were created specifically to serve disaffected right-wing users who felt they were being censored by mainstream platforms. Other alt-tech websites, such as 4chan, became popular with right-wing communities because they are perceived as having lenient moderation policies.
Which Platforms Are in the Alt-Tech Space?
The alt-tech space includes websites and platforms that provide their users with a wide range of services.
This includes social networking platforms, microblogging services, crowdfunders, video hosting sites, imageboards, instant messaging services, domain name registrars, and even online dating services.
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