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Social networking app CloutHub reports sharp spike in traffic amid deplatforming of Parler, Trump

"People are fed up, and not only just conservative people, the left, they're also fed up with the censorship that they're seeing," said CloutHub CEO Jeff Brain. "It's draconian."

Published: January 11, 2021 8:11pm

Updated: January 11, 2021 11:36pm

The social networking website CloutHub reports it has seen a sharp spike in traffic amid deplatforming of President Trump, his allies and the app Parler, which was denied hosting services by Amazon. 

CloutHub CEO Jeff Brain told Just the News that people from both the left and the right are "fed up" with online censorship, and this frustration is fueling CloutHub's rise.

Twitter stock fell by as much as 12% on Monday after the social-media company permanently suspended President Trump's account on Friday evening. The stock was down 6.4% at the close of trading. The decline resulted in the social media giant losing $5 billion in market capitalization.

Trump had 88 million Twitter followers. The decision to ban Trump has been met with opposition from fellow Republicans, First Amendment advocates, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel — and now investors.  

"Well, certainly we've seen an increase in traffic," Brain said. "People are fed up, and not only just conservative people, the left, they're also fed up with the censorship that they're seeing. It's draconian." 

Parler announced Monday that it is suing Amazon, arguing that being suspended from Amazon's hosting service violates antitrust laws and breaches the contract established between the two companies.

Brain said CloutHub doesn't rejoice in the misfortunes of a competitor, but he does hope to fill a need for people hungry for free expression, citing, for example, Brandon Straka. A gay, former liberal-turned-Trump supporter, Straka is credited with launching the WalkAway movement, a political vehicle for ex-liberals, especially from minority groups, disaffected from the Democratic Party. Straka said he was banned by Facebook and saw his 500,000-member group disappear overnight. He is now building a new community at CloutHub. 

"Of course, Parler being deplatformed, even though it's a competitor, we think they have a right to be there," Brain said. "And so our traffic has been substantial. And people are looking for a platform where they can speak their mind, and CloutHub allows that, for both sides."

Another selling point compared to his competitors, according to Brain, is CloutHub's focus on privacy protections. 

"They're invading your privacy, they're stealing your data, so they can give it to people who then target you with ads," Brain said. "We don't get into that at all. We don't dig into your phone. We don't track you where you're going or what you're looking at, you know. We don't data mine, we don't need to, and we don't even take the IP address that you came in off of privacy."

Even though Brain bills CloutHub as a platform for free expression, he acknowledges that it operates under constraints that are implemented via algorithmic artificial intelligence. It has controls in place that appear to have blocked the threats of violence that plagued Parler.

"So CloutHub is very transparent in our terms and conditions," Brain said. "We do not allow threats against individuals or property. We don't allow you to dox, we don't cancel culture."

Tom Borelli, a senior adviser to CloutHub, said that the firm has struggled with IBM deplatforming its videos but that Brain had been able to build an alternative. 

Initially launched in April 2019 (with a reboot just recently in October), CloutHub, bills itself as a "next-generation social networking site." It operated as a beta platform until the 2020 Conservative Political Action Conference, when the company released its desktop version.

Brain told Just the News that the platform has grown mostly by word of mouth and support from its online influencers. 

"But we noticed the censorship and people looking for alternative platforms weeks before, during the Covid lockdowns, when YouTube was removing videos of people who criticized the World Health Organization, and Facebook was removing groups that opposed the stay-at-home orders," Brain said.

Brain told Just the News that his motivation for creating CloutHub was due to being shadowbanned on Twitter

"So I have first-hand experience with big-tech censorship," Brain said. "I felt it was un-American and that the people needed to have a platform where they can discuss issues without Big Tech silencing our voices."

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