The highly anticipated TRUTH Social is on track to launch soon, and when it does, the Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) social media platform will have stringent content moderation practices in place to ensure it is a “family-friendly” online community, company CEO Devin Nunes told Fox Business, Monday.
Nunes and former President Trump have both separately stated that TRUTH Social is expected to be online by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
As the final stages of the platform’s development are addressed, those involved are expecting bad actors to target the site in an attempt to “flood” the platform with what it calls “illegal content,” especially during and after the formal launch.
In an effort to thwart the anticipated onslaught, TMTH is partnering with Hive, a San Francisco-based Series D start-up that provides automated moderation through cloud-based artificial intelligence across images, videos, and text content.
“We want to be very family-friendly,” Nunes said. “We want this to be a very safe place, and we are focused on making sure any illegal content is not on the site.”
“Hive has a great track record in this, and they have been good to work with,” Nunes continued. “They are very helpful for our team and because of their experience, I think they’re helping to craft the right spot for us.”
He then reiterated: “We want to be the most family-friendly site.”
While “family-friendly” sounds nice, talk of algorithms and safe spaces has some wondering if TRUTH Social will be any better than Twitter.
Indeed, it's literally worse than Twitter.
Twitter has an AI system to auto-flag "hate speech" for review but not delete it.
Hive is saying "hate speech" on Truth Social will "never make it to the platform."
— Chris Menahan 🇺🇸 (@infolibnews) January 24, 2022
But, according to Hive co-founder and CEO Kevin Guo, his company’s AI model will be used to ensure things like sexually-explicit content and posts that include violence, bullying, hate speech, and spam never make it to the platform.
“TMTG really has been proactive,” Guo told Fox Business. “For them, moderation has always been core. They have been very thoughtful about this.”
Hive was instrumental in helping Parler, a conservative alternative to Twitter, revamp their content moderation practices in order to be reinstated into Apple’s App Store following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Other clients include Reddit, Giphy, Yik Yak, OnlyFans, and more.
“Our stance, unlike other companies, we, by definition, are doing a net positive,” Guo declared. “I don’t care who you are, if you want to make your community a safer place, you should be given the tools to do so.”
When asked about working with controversial clients, Guo diplomatically said that there “are a few things where we should probably put aside our differences and just agree that we need to solve this problem.”
“We commit ourselves to being a very neutral ground in that sense,” Guo said. “If a partner wants to use us, and we think they are doing a good job, using our models well, and putting in good-faith moderation, we’re going to keep supporting them, no matter what the external pressures may be,” adding that Hive has already been working with TMTG for many months.
“From the very beginning of product design, they have had moderation as a core concept that they’ve been building around, so, our integration with them certainly is not one they have put in last minute, or after the fact,” Gao said. “They have been very thoughtful and very proactive with this, and when they launch, moderation will be fully in place on day one.”
Using Hive technology to keep “nudity, drugs, violence, hate speech, spam, and bullying” off a platform isn’t a partisan issue, according to Gao.
“This is not political,” he said. “These are not things that are left or right or have any political baggage. When you think about these bigger companies, what they have put in place around things like misinformation, what they deem that to be, for instance, that’s their prerogative.”
“Our moderation is based on these core concepts that, we think, are universal,” he added.
“They are not doing things like trying to censor any political talk,” Guo said. “We don’t have models for that or models for misinformation. We focus on a problem that is more objective.”
Nunes echoed the point, stressing that TRUTH Social will be “open for all ideas, all political debate from the left to the right.”
“We’re not going to censor anybody because they have a different opinion about, for example, a COVID vaccine,” Nunes said. “That is what the open internet is all about — it should be for the free flow of debate and ideas all over the globe, so that people can learn from one another and debate with one another. And society should be better for it, if it is working properly.”
The topic of content moderation has been a hot topic among critics on the right, who have argued that tech giants should not benefit from protections of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act if they censor conservative viewpoints.
The section has been pivotal in the rise of today’s social media giants by shielding Internet providers and companies such as Twitter, Google, Facebook, YouTube, and others from liability from content posted on their platforms by third parties.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act currently states that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.
So, what does Nunes, who was a vocal critic of Big Tech while representing California’s 22nd congressional district, think of Section 230 now that he’s heading up a media company?
“It’s the law of the land,” Nunes said. “Clearly, in the past, I’d express my frustration with it — mainly, at what point does a website or a tech company become a publisher?”
Nunes criticized companies like Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Instagram, saying they “have become editors” that selectively enforce their terms of service.
“The bottom line is that any changes that would be made to Section 230 in the future, we’re not at all worried about because we’re not going to be in that kind of business,” Nunes said.
At TRUTH Social, Nunes stressed, content moderation efforts are “all about protecting the customer and the user.”
“We want people to have a good experience on the platform,” Nunes said, “and they are not going to have a good experience if there is illegal activity on the platform, so that is the real necessity for this.”
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