Dave Rubin announces new platform that gives power back to the creators
Prominent YouTuber Dave Rubin has introduced a new platform called Locals.com which intends to give “power” back to the creators, rather than to organizations like YouTube and Patreon who have often been criticized for being censorious and manipulative.
Speaking to The Post Millennial, Rubin described Locals.com as a “subscription-based community network for creators … I fully believe that the future of the internet is bottom-up instead of top-down.”
Rubin went on to say that content creators are “frustrated by these giant tech platforms and the way they manipulate the algorithm, the way they shadowban, the way they de-platform, and what I realized was that for me as an independent content creator, I needed to make sure that all my digital assets, my videos, my audios, the way I can communicate with fans, is protected”
Rubin wanted to build Locals.com so that content creators had the power to “put up ad-free videos, ad-free audio podcasts, so you can communicate directly with your fans. Ultimately, we will build web-communities, and also apps for independent creators.”
There will also be a social element to Locals.com. Creators, for instance, will now be able to communicate with other like-minded creators on the backend of the site—creating their own networks. “The future is about creators, not these big tech platforms,” Rubin stated.
Locals.com will allow creators to set their own rules within their community—meaning that there won’t be a universal term of service. “You will set your rules about what type of people you want, and what speech is allowed. We will empower creators to actually own their content.”
Rubin also has a solution to the bots and trolls that content creators often have to deal with on the larger tech platforms, as these people won’t pay to access the content.
On top of this, creators won’t be beholden to tech companies or the government. “The government is not the solution, usually the government is the problem,” said Rubin.
“The idea behind a big platform is that somehow everybody should be on there, and everybody should be able to say what we want, except we know that these big tech platforms treat different content and different people differently. Why not hand that power down to the creator: so if you want to build a community where it is a free-for-all then so be it; but if you want to have a community which is much more guarded and moderated, then you can have that.”
“These are gated communities that interact with other gated communities, to start creating real, mature conversation which is what’s been lost of Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.”
Rubin also emphasized the ability for creators to communicate with their audience: Big tech platforms have “created a situation where there are creators with millions of followers and you can’t even directly communicate with your people because the algorithm stops you from doing that. So, for example, I have over a million youtube subscribers, but my videos get out to very few of them. So we’re gonna ensure that there is no algorithm manipulation.”
Rubin has made clear that Locals.com will not sell data. As well as this, if a creator leaves the platform, they will be allowed to take the audience data they collected with them so that creators are in no way dependant on Locals.com. In other words, Rubin is “trying to think of the internet in a whole new way.”
Next week, Locals.com will begin to announce a batch of prominent creators who will be posting their content on the site.
2019 was a landmark year for controversial decisions by Google, YouTube (owned by Google), and Facebook, where their power to snuff out political free expression became more publicly known. More and more evidence is surfacing that suggests efforts from the Big Three to minimize, or stifle, conservative voices.
And with the 2020 presidential election not so far away, the question remains: what effect will these Internet behemoths have on voters?
One of the biggest reveals came from whistleblower Zachary Vorhies. The former Google programmer blew the lid off of Google’s political bias, revealing the manipulation of search placements to tilt toward certain democratic candidates, and an autocorrect to favour them. Armed with his 950 pages of leaked documents, Vorhies asserted that Google programmed its algorithms to scale down the search engine’s results for right-leaning media, Republicans and Christian media.
Vorhies warned, “that they were intending to sculpt the information landscape… I saw something dark and nefarious going on with the company, and I realized that they were going to not only tamper with the elections, but use that tampering with the elections to essentially overthrow the United States.”
“If people don’t fall in line with their editorial agenda, their news articles get de-ranked. And if people do fall in line with their editorial agenda, it gets boosted and pushed to the top.”
Then there’s Project Veritas’ expose. Google executives were caught on undercover camera saying how they were going to influence the 2016 presidential election, and actively undermine Donald Trump. The video caught executives calling right-leaning personalities Jordan Peterson, Dennis Prager and Ben Shapiro “Nazis”.
The ramifications of data manipulation are just beginning to come to the surface. Confirming these theories, Dr. Robert Epstein spoke in 2019 to a Senate hearing to discuss his investigation into Google’s data intervention that he believes gave “at a minimum” 2.6 million more votes to Hillary Clinton.
The former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today is a visiting scholar at the University of California, San Diego, and the founder and director emeritus of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies in Concord, Massachusetts.
The “very liberal” Clinton supporter dropped this bomb, too: the number one donator to the Clinton campaign of 2016 was Alphabet, a corporation formerly known as Google.
“You can bet all these companies will go all out… (The Big Three are) more powerful than anything I’ve seen in behavioural sciences,” he said in a 2019 government deposition.
He warned that 15 million votes could be shifted to the Democratic Party in the 2020 election due to data manipulation, and search engine tweaking.
But the Big Three’s crosshairs aren’t limited to votes or parties. Scores of “undesirable” media have been placed under the guillotine.
PragerU–a weekly online video series running since 2010 run by the charitable organization of the same name–has seen some 25 per cent of its 400-plus videos placed on YouTube’s “restricted” list. That means schools and libraries cannot view them. One of those is a lesson on “Thou Shalt Not Murder” from the Biblical Ten Commandments.
According to Google, who owns YouTube, teaching youngsters that it’s wrong to murder is off limits. PragerU claims it is censorship, and that Google’s rationale is really noble-sounding cover for squelching right-leaning voices.
PragerU isn’t the only casualty. According to Vorhies’ documents, Google further blacklisted hundreds of media that include Christian Post, Megyn Kelly’s website, Newsbusters, Rebel Media, Daily Caller, and Glenn Beck.
Facebook appears to be gunning down the same road. Brian Amerige, a senior Facebook engineer validated this, saying the media giant is “quick to attack–often in mobs–anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology.”
So it’s the perfect storm: the amount of power that the Big Three wields, married to the political agenda of those who run them, could mean a 2020 presidential campaign marred by technological tampering.
A right-leaning publication, Epoch Times, is the latest victim in what appears to be the cyber-gagging of those with differing political viewpoints.
Spurred by a Snopes investigation in December 2019, Facebook barred Epoch Times from advertising on the platform, owing to what they believe was a breach of terms of service. They claim this was mostly because Epoch Times has a connection to another outlet, Beauty of Life (BL), accused of inauthentic behavior, spam and misrepresentation, by advertising and posting using fake accounts.
The BL, now banned from Facebook, at one point oversaw 610 Facebook accounts, 89 pages, and 156 groups, says Facebook.
The Post Millennial previously reported on the Epoch Times controversy in reference to a different matter, noting similar results to Capital Research, which found zero connection between Epoch Times and the BL’s online activities. Another rebuttal is unpacked by Epoch’s editor, Steven Gregory, who has stated that there is no link whatsoever to BL.
To whatever extent there was a remotely tenuous connection, happened to be that the two organizations had hired each other’s employees at separate times.
Facebook’s head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, explained the issue (from their point of view) to NBC News: “What’s new here is that this is purportedly a U.S.-based media company leveraging foreign actors posing as Americans to push political content.”
Here’s the upper cut: Gleicher was also director of National Security Council, at the Obama White House, from 2013 to 2015. In 2007, he clerked with Democrat Senator from Vermont, Patrick Leahy.
So, if Facebook relies on “linkage”–tying two loosely-related organizations to the same thread–the same reasoning could be used for Gleicher. Might he have a vested interest in squelching conservative voices, given the liberal politics of his former employers?
Interestingly, Facebook, its investigators-for-hire Graphika, and the Digital Forensics Lab, appeared to overlook the tar-and-feathering by Snopes, laden with a political agenda.
In an NPR interview, Snopes VP of Operations Vinny Green highlighted positive coverage of President Trump as a problem. “What we saw was an extreme amount of pro-Trump content,” Green said. “Almost exclusively what we were looking at …was the amplification of pro-Trump media…” [emphasis mine]
This has the whiff of a politically-motivated hit job.
There’s reason the Big Three should be gnawing at their nails about Epoch Times. Its reach, resources, and readership are gaining a foothold.
At last year’s CPAC–the annual conservative megaconference–the media outlet scored major interviews with Republican politicians, conservative pundits, and Trump cabinet members. Overall, their videos have been viewed billions of times over social media, which analytics company Tubular says ranks eleventh “among all video creators across platforms, outranking every other traditional news publisher.”
And with ten million Facebook followers, “the Epoch Times now wields one of the biggest social media followings of any news outlet,” according to NBC.
All the more reason for any liberal organization to target it as persona non grata.
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz told me a sobering thought after he published his book Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are.
“I think there are, definitely, ethical concerns that come with this powerful data source. Big Data isn’t good or bad, it’s just powerful… we don’t really have any way to regulate what information they are allowed to use, and what information they are not allowed to use.”
Perhaps this sums up the 1984-like Big Brother, in the year 2020. Except now it’s called Big Data.
Yet another woke record store has decided to ban British pop icon Morrissey from its shelves. This time, the Glasgow Evening Times reports that Glasgow’s “Monorail Music said it would continue to sell records by the Smiths but ‘like many of our colleagues’ would not be selling the singer’s 13th studio album, ‘I am not a dog on a chain.’”
This follows last year’s indie music store ban on Morrissey’s last album, “California Son.” Cardiff’s Spillers, which calls itself “the oldest record shop in the world,” declined to carry the record in retaliation for Morrissey’s political views. These views include support for Brexit, saying that the word “racist” is meaningless because it’s used so liberally, and that crime in London cannot be properly dealt with if the perpetrators are viewed as victims.
Morrissey responded to the last round of smears and bans by saying, “I straighten up, and my position is one of hope. The march backwards is over, and life has begun again. With voice extended to breaking point, I call for the prosperity of free speech; the eradication of totalitarian control; I call for diversity of opinion; I call for the total abolition of the abattoir; I call for peace, above all; I call for civil society; I call for a so-far unknowable end to brutalities; ‘No’ to Soviet Britain.”
Of course, the bans and smears don’t work. These kinds of actions will not stop Morrissey’s fans from buying the new album. The Guardian has consistently tried to smear Morrissey, and in response, Morrissey wore a t-shirt reading “Fuck The Guardian.” Fans know that Morrissey being able to speak his mind means that they are free to speak theirs, to hold opposing views, and to still listen to the new tracks Morrissey releases with consistent quality year after year.
Bookshops and record stores are not required to carry anything that they don’t wish to, obviously, but there is something sinister in the refusal to carry selections by such a popular, long-standing pop star, whose music on last year’s “California Son” was not political, and who lifts other artists through collaboration, simply because he’s not afraid to speak his mind.
Writer Fiona Dodwell responded to the ridiculous ban by tweeting: “How about businesses stock and store products and let customers choose what they want? This achieves nothing, Morrissey will still sell albums—with or without your company “banning” his records. People simply go elsewhere (and learn where NOT to shop next time!)”
How many pop stars have heterodox views but don’t say them out of fear of retaliation? Probably plenty, they just don’t say it, because they don’t want their work to suffer the same fate of being banned by distributors.
Morrissey has made his entire career out of being an iconoclast who “will not change and will not be nice.” So much the better for his fans, who strive to lead lives according to their own value systems, and not those imposed by a hypocritical society hell-bent on squashing free thought and individuality while claiming to uphold those very qualities they persistently deride.
When the new album drops on March 20, it will be interesting to see which other shops signal their virtue by refusing to carry it, and which ones instead cater to consumers and offer it for sale. Not carrying “I am not a dog on a chain” has more to do with the owner’s false sense of righteousness than punishing Morrissey. Time and time again, Morrissey has shown that he can’t be shelved and forgotten. His work is too essential and beautiful for that.
Greg Jackson, better known as Onision, has been under fire for his questionable relationships with young women over the past few years—and it’s all come to a head. As The Post Millennial documented, the infamous YouTuber who shot to fame in the mid-2000s during the early days of the video platform, has been exposed by former female fans who accused him of grooming them when they were underage.
In 2016, the 34-year-old YouTuber was exposed for running a forum where he urged young teenage girls—some of whom were underage—to post photos of themselves in their underwear. As documented by William Hicks on the now-defunct News Corp publication, Heat Street, Jackson used to publish videos consisting of “critiques” of young girls’ bodies. Jackson described his criticism as an enforcement of healthy body positivity, but his remarks often veered into scathing insults about their figures in videos that drew in thousands of views.
“Onision tells the girls that they should lose or gain weight, as part of helping them attain what he says is the ideal body type so they can feel good about themselves,” wrote Hicks. “While he’s nice to the fit girls, he sometimes says fat girls have ‘Shrek bodies.’ He’ll also make comments on whether he thinks the girls suffer from anorexia based on their pictures. ‘I know anorexia doesn’t have a look, but if it did, it would look like this,’ he commented on one girl’s photo. To an Asian girl with lots of acne, he said ‘Whatever, not all Asian people can be perfect.’”
Through the investigation, Heat Street found “dozens and dozens” of examples of girls who listed their ages between 11 and 17.
Chris Hansen, a former host of Dateline NBC and the popular documentary series To Catch a Predator, recently set his sights on Jackson to expose his alleged wrongdoings on his new YouTube series “Have A Seat With Chris Hansen.” Hansen’s reputation precedes him—he is well regarded for his sting operations on suspected pedophiles and child sexual predators through cooperation with local police departments and the anti-sex trafficking organization Perverted Justice, busting individuals suspected of child sexual predation on camera.
Through a series of interviews with alleged victims, much of Jackson’s alleged predatory behavior has come to light once again, prompting Hansen and the small crew of his YouTube program to pay the YouTuber a visit to his residence in Washington and confront him in person.
Unsurprisingly, Jackson refused to entertain his uninvited visitors and instead called 911 on Hansen. In collaboration with the local police, Hansen was able to procure the full audio of the emergency call and released it on his YouTube channel. He published it on his channel.
In the video, Jackson appears to be perturbed by Hansen’s surprise visit and repeatedly describes the documentarian as a “stalker” who’s allegedly “yelling things.”
“Hi, there’s a person who’s been stalking me online and they just showed up to my house. They’re knocking on my door,” he began.
“They have a bunch of camera people. They’re YouTube stalkers,” he continued when asked if Hansen and his crew had any weapons.
When prompted for his name, Jackson referred to himself as “James Jackson,” additionally denying that his name is “Greg.” Throughout his career, Jackson has used a multitude of different names, including Gregory Avaroe, Gregory Daniel, James Jackson, and Gregory Daniel Jackson.
The dispatcher asks Jackson why he believed Hansen was stalking him, to which he explains: “He… I have someone that I… there was an 18, no, I think it was a 19 year old who like I didn’t wanna hang out with and didn’t wanna be around them. They have BPD and their mental disorder was like really affecting my life in a negative way and I didn’t want them in my life anymore. And they went to this person (Hansen) and said a bunch of mean things about me. And so this person is now trying to aggressively pursue me in a really hateful way as a result.”
Jackson tells the dispatcher that he has spoken to a lawyer “about slander” and that the ordeal has been “really painful towards me.”
The Post Millennial reached out to Jackson for comment. We have not heard back by time of publication.
Loving The Onion for its satirical takes and hating The Babylon Bee for theirs is all in a day’s work for CNN “reporter on disinformation” Donie O’Sullivan.
While he has endlessly tweeted out uproarious Onion stories on everything from “Clinton Throws Flash Grenade to Divert Attention from Question About Senate Voting Record” to “FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot to Just Sit Back and Enjoy Collapse of United States,” (hilarious), he has taken issue with The Babylon Bees’ off-the-wall comic piece “Democrats Call For Flags To Be Flown At Half-Mast To Grieve Death Of Soleimani.”
The fictional story was shared abundantly on social media, as much as top New York Times and CNN stories, which rankled O’Sullivan.
Babylon Bee founder Adam Ford took to Twitter to parlay the hypocrisy he saw in O’Sullivan’s crush on The Onion and displeasure with The Babylon Bee.
Ford points out that O’Sullivan, a fan of The Onion’s skewering of American politics, doesn’t like it when The Babylon Bee does it. Why not? The Onion racks up clicks, as does The Babylon Bee. The Onion has often been accidentally shared as though it were real news, as has The Babylon Bee.
There was the time The Onion ran a story about how North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was named sexiest man of the year, and it was reprinted by the South China Morning Post. Or the time a congressman shared an appalling story about Planned Parenthood opening up an “abortionplex.” There was even the time The Onion ran a story “Congress Takes Group of School Children Hostage” and the actual Capitol Police sprang into action to save the school children from Congress.
The Onion has been publishing satirical content online since 1996, and we, the public, have almost gotten used to not believing what they post. The Babylon Bee has only been on the scene four years, but they’ve been constantly crushing it.
There’s one major difference between these two outlets. And at first glance, it’s basically nothing. The Onion runs political and social satire, The Babylon Bee runs political and social satire. But while The Onion has always done so from something of a leftist bent, The Babylon Bee makes no bones about its Christian underpinnings. The Babylon Bee’s google listing clearly states “The Babylon Bee is your trusted source for Christian news satire.”
But explicitly stating that your site is satire not good enough for CNN expert in disinformation Donie O’Sullivan.
Disinformation campaigns are serious business. Bad actors and nefarious governments work hard to spread fake news in efforts to mislead the public. That’s not going to stop, in fact it’s just getting worse.
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are in a rush to try and curb the spread of fake news and influence campaigns. But as they rush to do so, they must be made aware of the efforts of bad actors like O’Sullivan who wish to silence their ideological opponents by crying “disinformation” at every turn.