News Brief

The ‘intellectual dark web’ launches anti-censorship social network

Canadian psychologist and champion of the so-called “intellectual dark web,” Jordan B. Peterson has announced the launch of a new social media platform called Thinkspot, created in defiance of the censorship that conservative and alt-right internet users claim they regularly experience online.

Peterson claimed, in an interview with comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan, that “once you’re on our platform we won’t take you down unless we’re ordered to by a U.S. court of law.”

The move away from mainstream social media platforms by Peterson and other dark web advocates like YouTuber Dave Rubin echoes a similar move by alt right internet users who left Twitter in 2017 in favour of Gab, another platform which champions free speech. Gab recently made headlines for being the chosen social network of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter.

This collection of conservative political commentators has led the online vanguard against attempts by social media platforms to regulate potentially harmful or offensive content. In recent weeks, their ire has been aimed at YouTube, after the popular video hosting platform introduced new policies to tackle racist disinformation and hate speech.

Peterson’s fledgling platform comes at a time of increased regulation of social media, both by governments and by platforms themselves. Earlier this year, Coda reported on the UK government’s online harms white paper, which proposes for social media companies to “be held to account for tackling a comprehensive set of online harms, ranging from illegal activity and content to behaviours which are harmful but not necessarily illegal.”

Countries around the globe have been introducing legislation to limit the dissemination of fake news and the distribution of potentially harmful content.