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Tuesday, 12 March 2019 21:04

The Internet wild-west rides again with Dissenter


Does anyone remember the days when the Web was a place for the free and open exchange of ideas before the days of demonetisation, deplatforming and the eradication of comments from mainstream news sites? Those days may be about to return with a brilliant new online app.

When the Internet was free, mainstream news sites had active comment sections under stories that no longer exist. It was often the case that the comments were more widely read than the stories.

Independent YouTube, Facebook and Twitter posters could express way-out non-conformist political opinions without fear of being demonetised or deplatformed.

Many YouTube posters attracted followings of tens and hundreds of thousands — even millions — enabling them to make a living from providing the content their users wanted.

Then, to the protestations of independent content providers who had put years of work into building their followings and content archives, it was progressively shut down so that the only content providers who could make a living were big media.

Alternative news channels were demonetised as news was not deemed suitable content for advertising – unless you were CNN, MSNBC, FOX et al. Sometimes channels were simply deplatformed, sending years of work of content creators down the drain.

The common refrain from the social justice warriors at the helm of big tech and their cheerleaders was, “hey, we’re private companies so if you don’t like it go build your own platform!”

So that is exactly what a young conservative leaning entrepreneur by the name of Andrew Torba has done with a new app called Dissenter.

Dissenter is a downloadable application that integrates as an extension with all the popular browsers and enables users to post and share comments about any Web page with other users.

Thus, if you wish to share a comment about any news article, a new product be it cool or crap, or complain about the service of your most disliked budget airline, you can do so directly from the Web page simply by clicking the Dissenter browser extension and posting your rant.

Those who belong to the SJW class may remember Torba with distaste as the founder and chief executive of Gab, which they would describe as Twitter for the far right. Torba, himself, would, no doubt, reject this description as an attempt to smear his name and that of his social media platform.

It is true that Gab does have a fair share of white supremacists, racists, purveyors of far right ideologies and other distasteful elements using the platform. Then again, so do the mainstream social media platforms. A quick visit to YouTube for instance will find numerous openly anti-Semitic and racist commentators and comments.

However, Gab, like its much larger competitors, maintains a strict code of conduct policy that precludes threatening behaviour and so on.

So, let’s get back to Dissenter. Users do not have to be members of Gab. Once the app is downloaded and integrated with whatever browsers you happen to be using, you can immediately start posting comments about any Web page you wish. It’s back to the wild-west days, when Web surfers were free to express their opinions openly.

So, if you wish to post a comment about this article and you’re a Dissenter user, you don’t need to look for a Twitter, Facebook or Reddit button on the page, just click the Dissenter icon at the top of your browser.

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Stan Beer

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Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 35 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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