The Dangerous Magaverse
[Editor’s note: Watch Not My Party every week on Snapchat.]
Zuck might want to take us to the metaverse, but the real online explosion is in the MAGAverse.
This is “Not My Party,” brought to you by The Bulwark. One thing that politicians in both parties seem to agree on is that the big tech social media companies are monopolies that need to be broken up because they stifle competition. But in reality, new social media competitors are going through a boom time. Particularly on the MAGA right.
We’ve got GETTR, a Twitter clone run by a chinless deadbeat dad who used to flack for Trump.
The site has attracted niche audiences like Brazilian fascists and people who enjoy Sonic the Hedgehog erotica.
PARLER, another Twitter copycat funded by the Mercer family, a nationalist’s real life version of the Roys who also funded Breitbart and Cambridge Analytica. Yeah, a forum for literal Nazis, great.
Rumble, a free speech YouTube knockoff that features MAGA pundits and Glenn Greenwald.
And the latest entrant is from the marmalade magnet himself. His new site, branded TRUTH Social, is yet another Twitter knockoff.
No seriously, this looks exactly the same. Now get this. Despite the supposed monopoly power of his big tech competitors and the fact that he has no actual website or business plan to speak of, TRUTH stonk is still taking off like a rocket ship to the moon. Check out the chart on this SPAC called DWAC that’s backing this whack product.
Republican Congressman Devin Nunes is even quitting his job to go work for TRUTH Social. Why is all this happening? Well, there’s a demand in the marketplace. Trump voters crave the content that the big platforms have recently been cracking down on. Things like Wojak and Pepe memes, anti-vaccine conspiracies, and weird Trump Zaddy porn.
All this is popping up while the tech censors and DC regulators are playing a losing game of whack-a-mole and missing the unintended consequences. The pesky trolls will always find new rocks to crawl under and the rodents multiply in the shadows.
One example of this is Christian Walker, who found himself in some drama this week. Walker is a gay Starbucks-slurping, former cheerleader, whose dad used to play professional football and is running for senate in Georgia. He got huge on TikTok with sassy videos like this one, where he calls Joe Biden a drug addict.
These wheels-off videos can get more views than mainstream media organizations. Christian took some heat over one of his latest videos where he complained about rising gas prices while wearing a $1,300 Givenchy sweatshirt. He responded by clapping back at all the lazy poors who were just jealous.
Now, this is just one kid. I could dunk on him over his moronic takes, or tease him over his face filling out thanks to those 20,000 calorie Starbucks frappuccinos he’s sucking down. But that’d be bitchy. Instead we’re forced to take his messaging seriously. ‘Cause he’s an example of how trolling for LOLs and follows can morph into disastrous real world damage. Here’s Christian on January 6th, “You’re trying to steal our country. Expect more of this.”
While he takes selfies on his Fendi case iPhone, the people on the Mall who were watching him, reading Parler, and posting on Gab, believed that their country was really being taken from them. They put police, people who worked in the Capitol, and themselves in harm’s way. The same is true for all the unvaccinated who are dying unnecessarily because of misinformation. The QAnon man who went so crazy he killed his kids. And on, and on, and on.
This is what happens when trolling and grievance peddling can make you a celebrity. When it becomes the basis for political campaigns. When spreading this bile is big business with billion dollar market caps. And as the MAGAverse continues to expand into a shadowy world all its own, the incentives are aligned for even more real world radicalization.
See you next week, for more “Not My Party.”