What ‘alternative’ social media sites are there?

Some sites have reputations as gathering places for extremists

Some users have become frustrated with the most mainstream social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, over alleged conservative censorship, data security issues and other concerns.

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They're creating accounts on sites like Gab, 4chan and the newly minted Parler — however, it's unclear whether these companies will ever take significant market share away from today's social media giants.

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Some sites, like 4chan, have reputations as gathering places for extremists since the site is loath to censor offensive posts.

Meanwhile, sites like Parler are marketing to conservatives who think that companies like Twitter and Facebook are censoring right-of-center viewpoints.

Parler's homepage. (Screenshot)

"I think they are censoring," Parler CEO John Matze Jr. told FOX Business' "Mornings with Maria." "I don't think they believe they are. I don't know that they would admit they are, but it is pretty clear that they're behaving like publications. ... They're telling you they're an open community forum for people behaving like publications, choosing what gets to reach its audience, what doesn't."

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Here are some alternative social media sites trying to grow their platforms or rehab their images:

4chan

Imageboard 4chan, a weird and often lewd corner of the internet, was founded by 15-year-old Christopher Poole in 2003. The site allows users to post anonymously on topic boards that range from politics to anime.

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Poole left 4chan and is now a product manager at Google. 4chan has grown to more than 22 million monthly visitors worldwide.

Christopher Poole, founder of 4chan, speaks during the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York, on Tuesday, May 25, 2010. (Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images)

4chan has also faced serious criticism for its lack of controls after killers posted gory photos of their victims, including in the case of slain teen Bianca Devins.

Gab

Andrew Torba founded Gab.com in 2016, nearly 15 years after 4chan was created, and Gab has a much smaller user base than 4chan's. Gab's interface is similar to Twitter's, but it is banned by both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store because of its content.

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Gab insisted it has "zero tolerance" for racism and terrorism after facing backlash when it was revealed that the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter had posted anti-Semitic messages on the website.

The site had more than 1.1 million registered users as of April.

Parler

In June, alternative social media site Parler seemed to have sprung up overnight after fed-up conservatives announced they were making accounts because of Twitter's censorship policies.

But the site has been around since 2018 and was founded by John Matze Jr. and Jared Thomson. Both studied computer science at the University of Denver.

Conservative pundit Dan Bongino is pushing Parler after announcing earlier in June that he had taken an ownership stake in the platform.

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Ello

Ello now describes itself as a network for "creators" after starting out as an ad-free Facebook alternative in 2014. The site was not user-friendly and therefore unable to retain a solid user base, according to TechCrunch. Its reinvention focuses on connecting artists with partnership opportunities and allowing them to share their work with the wider world.

Ello's homepage. (Screenshot)

The site had about 625,000 artists as of 2017, according to TechCrunch.

“A lot of people thought we died and went away and the whole time we’ve been cultivating a really niche and creative community that’s gotten more focused as I’ve been able to enact my vision," CEO Todd Berger told TechCrunch.

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