A safe haven for haters

A safe haven for haters

New social media platform may become home for hate

Laptop, Computer, Desktop PC, Human Hand, Office / soft focus picture / Vintage concept
Laptop, Computer, Desktop PC, Human Hand, Office / soft focus picture / Vintage concept

News last week about the launch of Thinkspot, a new social media hub founded by controversial Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, left us troubled.

Promoted as an “anti-censorship” platform, Thinkspot, which is scheduled to go live in August, will apparently allow its users free rein in terms of the content they post.

“Once you’re on our platform we won’t take you down unless we’re ordered to by a U.S. court of law,” Peterson said.

The site is intended to operate as an alternative to other online services, such as Twitter, which have banned some white nationalists and other extremists.

We are worried that Thinkspot will become yet another platform for haters to post their vile bigotry and conspiracy theories, radicalizing each other and inciting violence.

Other “free expression” platforms have been overrun by racists, and Gab, founded in 2016 and headquartered in Pennsylvania, became a haven for white nationalists after launching as an alternative to Twitter and Facebook.

In fact, the anti-Semitic murderer who gunned down 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life building on Oct. 27 found a home on Gab, where he had a banner image of a white supremacist meme and was an active contributor of comments such as “jews are the children of satan.”

His account has been deactivated, but media reports shortly after the shooting found he was preoccupied with Jews and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories popular among neo-Nazis. His final post on Gab before he tore into the synagogue was: “Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

These “anti-censorship” platforms have served as a means to connect bigots from throughout the world and are a conduit for online radicalization.

Now, many extremists are considering joining Thinkspot.

“I am open to using any platform that is brave enough to allow me to share my journalism and true facts with the public,” Laura Loomer, a self-styled “anti-Islam journalist” banned from Twitter, told the Forward. Though she does not currently have a Thinkspot account, “that does not mean I will not consider it in the future,” she said.

“I will sign up for Jordan Peterson’s thing, of course, and will be banned for some inane reason,” said neo-Nazi blogger Andrew Anglin. “But it will be necessary to sign up and be banned to prove the point.”

Jared Taylor, founder of the white supremacist web magazine American Renaissance who is also banned from Twitter, told the Forward he would most likely join as well.

We can only imagine the unfiltered, raw hate and dangerous postings Thinkspot will attract, as Peterson has refused to disavow even the most extreme voices.

We don’t see the merit in providing an outlet for the sewage of hateful minds, particularly in the wake of the Tree of Life murders, perpetrated by an anti-Semite who frequented a similar platform. We in Pittsburgh know too well where hateful language can lead. pjc

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