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Introducing Deplatformed, a look at how politics is playing out online

The fact is the internet—the collective dream of unity in its early days—has been shattered. 


David Covucci


Posted on Sep 29, 2023   Updated on Oct 2, 2023, 8:17 am CDT

Deplatformed is a weekly column that looks into the nether reaches of the internet—outside the big few that everyone already covers—to tell you the political discourse online. It runs on Thursdays in the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter. If you want to get this column a day before we publish it, subscribe to web_crawlr, where you’ll get the daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.

In 2016, the presidential election was stolen from Hillary Clinton on Facebook—with aid from the Pope endorsing her opponent.

In 2020, Twitter swung the election to Joe Biden, shutting down discourse over his son’s misdeeds, while Trump, in its aftermath, used his own account to nearly capsize the United States government.

In 2024… 

Well, what are you logged into the most these days? Assuming it ain’t those two platforms, right?

Have you migrated to Discord to keep conversations private, away from whatever ever-shifting data policy Elon Musk has implemented? 

Are you trying to recreate the early days of Twitter on BlueSky, enjoying wholesome memes and a feed without the vitriol that’s overtaken most of the internet? Did you join Truth Social, the only spot on the internet where you can admit what we all know—Trump actually is president and Biden died nine months ago? Have you signed up for Dave Rubin’s Locals?

Okay, not that one

The fact is the internet—the collective dream of unity in its early days—has been shattered

The biggest personality in the media left Fox for X, but its algorithm barely surfaces him. You’re more likely to encounter Tucker Carlson clips remixed on TikTok than on his native platform. 

The Republican debates have left the biggest streaming site in the world to broadcast on Rumble (a non-woke YouTube), where Donald Trump Jr. posts videos of his podcasts.

Moderation has kept extremism off main—good for advertising and enriching Mark Zuckerberg—but bad for keeping tabs on whether another insurrection might be fomenting. Meta is now blocking news on Threads, which tbh may or may not be good? Jury’s still out, but when every feed is allowing something else, how are we to know what is or isn’t happening

The internet is more fractured than ever, and whatever is considered a feed these days (news feed, timeline, scroll) is deserted, as everyone retreats into their preferred site. What are people saying? How are they thinking? What will explode weeks or months from now?

Why it matters

With Deplatformed, we will be looking into the nether reaches of the internet, outside the big few that everyone already covers, to tell you the political discourse online.

In our decentralized, fractured social media landscape, Deplatformed will bring it all together

We crawl the web so you don’t have to.
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*First Published: Sep 29, 2023, 6:00 am CDT