Following a series of grievances with the social media networks that millions of people actually use, Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is floating the idea of setting up shop on a new platform, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. Well, there’s a perfectly good network sitting right there.
Facebook has taken down some of the campaign’s ads and posts (in the latest case, for featuring Nazi iconography); Twitter has repeatedly slapped warning labels on Trump’s tweets threatening violence against protesters and banned its primo meme-maker Logan “Carpe Donktum” Cook; and Snapchat has stopped promoting Trump’s feed. While these actions all equate to slaps on the wrist that don’t seriously limit the president’s ability to reach voters, they’re also bait for conservatives obsessed with the canard that liberal tech companies are secretly censoring and banning them. The Journal reported that campaign staffers view the pushback as a “code red” situation.
Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, and “others in the campaign” have been talking up the possibility of staking a claim on Parler – a social network that bills itself as an unbiased and censorship-free Twitter alternative, but in practice largely serves as an echo chamber for right-wingers who feel wronged by Twitter. Analytics firm eMarketer told the Journal that Facebook membership in the U.S. is 175.4 million, while Twitter has 53.5 million U.S. users and YouTube has 212.6 million U.S. viewers. Meanwhile, Trump has over 30 million followers of Facebook, over 82 million on Twitter, and 520k YouTube subscribers. Parler claims to have over one million, but it’s not clear how many of those are active.
(A Gizmodo reporter registered a Parler account on Wednesday and was prompted during the sign-up process to follow Breitbart, the Epoch Times, the Daily Caller, the Washington Times opinion page, the Western Journal and several of its subsites, pro-Brexit site Westmonster, NASA, and bizarrely, Gwyneth Paltrow’s quackery brand Goop. They were also promoted to follow the former NRATV contributor Dan Bongino, Eric Trump, racist provocateur Laura Loomer, Rudy Giuliani, Senator Rand Paul, Trump’s re-election campaign, conservative radio host Mark Levin, Trump 2016 campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson, Laura Lea Trump, libertarian conspiracist site Zero Hedge, British bigot Katie Hopkins, and various other Republican politicians.)
According to the Journal, the Trump campaign has also frantically tried to redirect supporters to download an app that gathers data to drive donations and is partially gamified to reward users for inviting others and financial contributions. There’s no mention of Gab, which like Parler bills itself as a censorship-free Twitter alternative, but in reality, is just a hangout for neo-Nazis and white supremacists where a mass shooter posted his final message before killing 11 and injuring six at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018.
So here’s a modest proposal for Team Trump, if they really want to make a big stink over a MAGA migration to a friendlier platform: Why not take over MySpace?
Granted, I haven’t even so much as looked at (or even heard a reference to, really) MySpace in years. I have absolutely no idea what to make of the current state of MySpace, the social network that was briefly the world’s largest from 2005-2008. The last I heard was that it has something to do with bands or whatever and that MySpace Tom has long since left the company, bumping me slowly but steadily up from the bottom of the list of notable Toms. It’s entirely possible that Donald Trump already has an account on MySpace, or that MySpace has since pivoted to Bitcoin or something.
There are several reasons, however, that I believe Donald Trump’s campaign should immediately abandon the platforms that are oppressing them when they aren’t offering massive reach and taking millions of dollars in Team Trump’s ad money, and instead focus all of its energy encouraging its followers to engage in a mass defection to MySpace.
- Huge growth opportunity
- Appeals to an unknown, but theoretically massive and pro-Trump, demographic
- If MySpace has a moderation team, it will probably quit
- Trump speeches can be uploaded in MP3 format so long as they are compressed to 5 megabytes
- Current owner may be more susceptible to bullying than Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey
- Would absolutely infuriate Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp bought MySpace in 2005 for $580 million and sold it in 2011 for as low as $35 million
- Gen Xers who have become bitter and racist over the years may still be able to recover their old accounts
- May still have an 800x600 layout making it easy for elder voters to print out and read
- Presumably supports sign-in with Facebook and Twitter, if you can’t keep track of passwords or whatever
I rest my case. Team Trump, please, lead your bleating followers from the clutches of leftist Big Tech and into the promised land of MySpace. America is counting on you, and MySpace probably can’t stop you! From there, you can conquer all the forgotten Real Users that lying liberal Silicon Valley has left behind: AOL chatrooms, Yahoo! Messenger, AltaVista, StumbleUpon, Virtual Magic Kingdom, even Beenz.