Who Needs Frank or Parler?

 

This week brings news of Mike Lindell’s bumpy launch of a new social media platform—bearing the witty name of Frank—and Parler’s pending return to Apple’s App Store. Neither story will likely gladden the heart of social conservatives living in the noisy culture of social media.

Both Frank and Parler are misguided efforts to create alternatives to Facebook and Twitter by lowering the bar on civil speech while ostensibly cherishing free speech. The need for alternatives is real, to be sure. Anyone with a distaste for data harvesting, invasions of privacy, trash talk, inconsistent and arbitrarily enforced terms of service, and treating users as commodities would do well to avoid both platforms.

The most abiding failing of these social platforms is less their contempt for social conservatives than their contempt for all users. Facebook and Twitter have taken H.L. Mencken’s observation that nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the public and made it their business model. They reward the basest instincts of human nature, including envy, hypocrisy, pride, gossip, and random cruelty.

The American Civil Liberties Union long argued, especially under the leadership of its happy warrior Ira Glasser, that the answer to bad speech is more speech. This is a praiseworthy defense of First Amendment principles, especially as it relates to prior restraint by the government. It’s a less helpful model for creating a social platform moderated by a private company, though if any entity could create the ideal experiment for a free-speech platform, the ACLU would be the top candidate.

I’ve yet to see a better platform for social conservatives than Ricochet. It makes no pretense of being a pipeline of all perspectives permitted under the First Amendment. Ricochet has a clearly stated code of conduct that anyone of sound mind and goodwill can accept.

Ricochet is neither Speakers’ Corner at Hyde Park nor a walled garden. It is more like a farmers market co-op: if you seek nutritious mental food and will pay for a reasonably priced annual membership, you’re welcome. If you know the difference between being assertive and being aggressive, sound off. If you love lively discussions (and occasional arguments) among well-read friends, choose from the ever-growing list of podcasts, or consider creating a new show.

Ricochet has a presence on Facebook and Twitter, but its livelihood does not depend on either platform. The likelihood of its being silenced by either entity is slim because Ricochet answers to higher standards than trigger alerts. The thought of anyone hell-bent on depriving Ricochet of web hosting is laughable for the same reason. A space that forbids obscenity and conspiracy theories will not foment violence. There is no Ricochet app to banish from the App Store.

If you want to assume the worst about American life and seek an echo chamber for such gloom, keep looking. If you prefer to have calm conversations with non-hysterical adults, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, Ricochet addressed this market in 2010, and it’s still rolling along unhindered by the commissars of Silicon Valley.

Published in Culture
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  1. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    I actually think Ricochet is before it’s time.  Now that substack, locals, dailywire are establishing and expanding the pay to play model it might be Ricochet or its successor time is to come.  

    • #1
  2. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    I might go back to Usenet.

    • #2
  3. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    @blueyeti, time to find @douglasleblanc a spot in Ricochet’s marketing department…

    • #3
  4. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    As much as I love Ricochet for what it is, they made a calculated decision to kiss the ring of the establishment with regard to the election, Covid, and even BLM, and in doing so have (as far as the main page goes) promoted censorship over a free exchange of ideas. Many good a long time members fled in disgust, some of us stuck around to stir the pot.

    • #4
  5. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Douglas LeBlanc: Both Frank and Parler are misguided efforts to create alternatives to Facebook and Twitter by lowering the bar on civil speech while ostensibly cherishing free speech.

    Misguided? Ostensibly? 

    What bar are you talking about?  

    • #5
  6. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Can somebody explain to me why social media ban / silences anybody?  By its very nature you can either not “friend” or “block” anybody you don’t like.  Maybe if they are actually doing something illegal but even then who cares it is just more evidence.

    • #6
  7. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    This is not a knock on Ricochet, but its model strikes me as quite different than that of Facebook or Twitter.  I’m not at all familiar with Frank/Parler, but, if they’re similar to the “big two,” that would seem to apply to them as well.  This is a small, relatively well controlled club.  And I like that.

    • #7
  8. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and
    @Misthiocracy

    Does one have to reveal one’s true identity when signing up for Parler or Frank, even if it’s just to the services’ owners?  If yes, then nobody who is truly worried about being “cancelled” should use them.  Having an account on such sites is like waving a great big sign to left-wing hackers that says, “Dox me!”

    (Yes, I realize this critique also applies to Ricochet. I just pray that BlueYeti keeps a really good eye on security.)

    • #8
  9. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Parler has gone over to the dark side.

     

    • #9
  10. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Douglas LeBlanc: I’ve yet to see a better platform for social conservatives than Ricochet.

    • #10
  11. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Douglas LeBlanc: bearing the witty name of Frank

    It’s actually frankspeech.com.  He uses “frank” as in “sincere” . . .

    • #11
  12. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Douglas LeBlanc:

    I’ve yet to see a better platform for social conservatives than Ricochet.

    Well, that’s true.

    • #12
  13. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Douglas LeBlanc:

    This week brings news of Mike Lindell’s bumpy launch of a new social media platform—bearing the witty name of Frank—and Parler’s pending return to Apple’s App Store. Neither story will likely gladden the heart of social conservatives living in the noisy culture of social media.

    Both Frank and Parler are misguided efforts to create alternatives to Facebook and Twitter by lowering the bar on civil speech while ostensibly cherishing free speech. The need for alternatives is real, to be sure. Anyone with a distaste for data harvesting, invasions of privacy, trash talk, inconsistent and arbitrarily enforced terms of service, and treating users as commodities would do well to avoid both platforms.

    The most abiding failing of these social platforms is less their contempt for social conservatives than their contempt for all users. Facebook and Twitter have taken H.L. Mencken’s observation that nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the public and made it their business model. They reward the basest instincts of human nature, including envy, hypocrisy, pride, gossip, and random cruelty.

    So Parler and Frank are bad, maybe even worse than Facebook and Twitter?  What are your premises that support that conclusion?  Is it that they’re doing data harvesting and invasions of privacy, that they have trash talk and “inconsistent and arbitrarily enforced terms of service,” and that they treat users as commodities?

    Ok, good premises for them being bad.  But not good premises for them being worse than Fb and Tw.

    And how are we supposed to know all that stuff about something that launched just this week?  And shouldn’t you give some evidence for that stuff in the case of Parler?

    I know basically nothing myself.  All I have to go on is some limited experience on Parler (profile here).  I’ve seen some annoying people who are ignorant but don’t know it.  Certainly no worse than Facebook, and maybe less bad; and even Ricochet has those people.

    (Twitter scares me; I never touch the stuff.)

    • #13
  14. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Parler has gone over to the dark side.

    . . .

    I hope I remember these claims.

    In the meantime, though, any information on where this came from?  Any other side to the story anyone’s been talking about?

    • #14
  15. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    It’s very useful to have sites on which conservatives, libertarians, etc can interact with one another.  But it is also important to have venues in which interaction with people more to the Left or just less-political can happen.  

    Facebook includes millions of people who are not particularly political…or who *previously* weren’t political…but who are influenced by the political content they see there. That’s why it has so much power and why it’s Leftist slant is so damaging.

     

     

    • #15
  16. Roderic Reagan
    Roderic
    @rhfabian

    It’s hard to have a social media that’s truly free speech without having the racists, Nazis, Antifa, etc., come in and stink the place up.  Discussions among diverse groups can’t happen with people around who are constantly going over the line.  Moderation of some kind is essential, but application of principles of moderation that everyone will see as fair is probably impossible. 

     

    • #16
  17. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    As much as I love Ricochet for what it is, they made a calculated decision to kiss the ring of the establishment with regard to the election, Covid, and even BLM, and in doing so have (as far as the main page goes) promoted censorship over a free exchange of ideas. Many good a long time members fled in disgust, some of us stuck around to stir the pot.

    I try to keep up with the Main Feed but I guess I’ve missed all the pro-BLM posts.  I don’t remember even one of them.

    • #17
  18. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    I sometimes link Ricochet articles at the group blog to which I’m a regular contributor (Chicago Boyz) and also at social media (FB)…but this can only be done for articles on the main page, since 99.9% of the population are, unfortunately, not Ricochet members, and very few are likely to sign up in  order to read a single article.

    I think it would be beneficial to the overall national dialogue (such as it is), and also to Ricochet membership growth, to move a larger # of Member Feed posts onto the main page.  Not 10X, but 2-3X the current level.

    • #18
  19. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    As much as I love Ricochet for what it is, they made a calculated decision to kiss the ring of the establishment with regard to the election, Covid, and even BLM, and in doing so have (as far as the main page goes) promoted censorship over a free exchange of ideas. Many good a long time members fled in disgust, some of us stuck around to stir the pot.

    I try to keep up with the Main Feed but I guess I’ve missed all the pro-BLM posts. I don’t remember even one of them

    The problem with the main page is that it no longer picks up the conversations on gritty, uncomfortable truth, content that pushes the envelope, aka the best of the member feed. 

    There were some anti BLM posts last summer at the height of the BLM/I cant breathe/I’m listening/white privilege stupidity that got 30+ likes but were never promoted. Why I have no idea. 

    • #19
  20. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    As much as I love Ricochet for what it is, they made a calculated decision to kiss the ring of the establishment with regard to the election, Covid, and even BLM, and in doing so have (as far as the main page goes) promoted censorship over a free exchange of ideas. Many good a long time members fled in disgust, some of us stuck around to stir the pot.

    I try to keep up with the Main Feed but I guess I’ve missed all the pro-BLM posts. I don’t remember even one of them

    The problem with the main page is that it no longer picks up the conversations on gritty, uncomfortable truth, content that pushes the envelope, aka the best of the member feed.

    There were some anti BLM posts last summer at the height of the BLM/I cant breathe/I’m listening/white privilege stupidity that got 30+ likes but were never promoted. Why I have no idea.

    Maybe Frankspeech.com will be just what you’re looking for.  It will be interesting to see if it succeeds.

    • #20
  21. ape2ag Member
    ape2ag
    @ape2ag

    Roderic (View Comment):

    Discussions among diverse groups can’t happen with people around who are constantly going over the line. 

     

    This is not true.  There are very valuable discussions to be had where people will inevitably go over the line.  You are free to avoid such discussions for your own comfort. 

    • #21