Conservative-leaning social media platforms fail to maintain growth after Capitol riot

Mobile downloads of platforms such as MeWe, which started as an alternative to Facebook, dropped by over 80 percent from January to February.

Some alternative social media platforms to Facebook, Twitter and others had a large increase in users immediately following the Capitol riot in January but are failing to maintain that growth two months later.

Deplatforming former President Trump and other conservative thought leaders from popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube created an opportunity for alternative social media platforms to flourish. However, their initial surge around the time the riot occurred has not continued.

Mobile downloads in the United States of platforms such as MeWe, which started as a privacy-focused alternative to Facebook, and Rumble, conservative commentator Dan Bongino’s alternative to YouTube, dropped by more than 80 percent from January to February, according to data obtained by Sensor Tower. 

The large decrease in growth for these platforms has also extended into March, according to data on worldwide downloads provided by Apptopia.

MeWe spokesperson David Westreich told The Hill that these drastic increases and decreases are common, highlighting that the platform has sustained yearly growth.

"People all over the world are leaving Facebook and Twitter in droves because they are fed up with the relentless privacy violations, surveillance capitalism, political bias, targeting, and newsfeed manipulation by these companies," he said. "MeWe solves these problems."

Data for Parler and Gab, two of the most well known right-wing platforms, is not available as they are blocked from application stores.

But data from Sensor Tower shows that Parler downloads increased by 79 percent from December to January. User growth on Gab slowed down since January and most accounts are inactive, according to data obtained by a hacktivist.

Parler was taken off of major application stores after the platform was accused to being hosts to organizing efforts related to the Jan. 6 riot. In 2017, Gab was removed over hate speech rules.

Part of the slowdown in growth is attributed to Trump never migrating to any of these alternatives after being removed from other social media platforms, which experts say was a likely reason many joined the sites, to follow the former president.