Far-right individuals and groups are flocking to a secret “free speech” video platform where they raise money through cryptocurrencies.
Tommy Robinson, James Goddard and For Britain are among the far-right activists who have joined 3speak, a video platform, not dissimilar in format to YouTube that allows content about “rape” and “genocide” to be monetised.
The platform, which was launched in May 2019, boasts that it is “the home of free speech on the internet”. It hosts content creators who have been deplatformed or demonetised elsewhere, or are maverick political activists. The platform describes itself as somewhere for people who have “fallen foul of Silicon Valley’s arbitrary rules.”
“We do not believe in the concept of hate speech,” its terms and conditions say.
“Criticising religion, beliefs, groups, people: Absolutely fine. Go for it.
Making a rape joke or a joke about genocide is perfectly ok, as long as you aren’t calling for people to really be killed or harmed in any way.”
Users of 3speak raise revenue in Steem, a type of cryptocurrency, when they make “great comments” that are upvoted by other users. Scram understands that users are also rewarded for meeting content milestones like making a first post. Content creators are given funds to reward their followers for bringing further traffic to their videos, who can then donate their money back to content creators or can cash out.
3speak has a decentralised management structure. It says that its forum of users decides if a post has violated guidelines. It also allows users to create anonymous accounts, saying that creators are only removed if they explicitly incite violence. The platform is stored on blockchain, meaning that its information cannot be deleted.
One such far-right vigilante who has turned to the platform is Tommy Robinson, whose videos have been restricted on YouTube. ‘Yellow-vest’ activist James Goddard has also published 10 videos on the site.
Other users include the group ‘active patriot’ which uses a cover image that reads “ban Islam” and For Britain, a far-right nationalist party.
All of these users have been banned from Facebook and Twitter for breaking policies on hate speech. But 3speak welcomes such users as upholding freedom of expression.
Scram believes 3speak is owned by Oracle-D, a blockchain company run by Matt Starke. Dylan Leighton is another co-founder.
The platform is in its infancy, but its aim is clear: allowing the far-right to profit from hate.