As a growing number of conservatives and Christians across the United States believe social media giants are censoring them, a new platform aims to be a refuge for those who are seeking alternatives to Facebook and Twitter.
Founded in early 2019 by pastor and Silicon Valley technology expert Steven Andrew, USA.Life bills itself as “the answer to Facebook and Twitter censoring Christians, Conservatives, and Liberty.” The platform very closely resembles Facebook. Users can send messages, join groups, and become friends with other users.
Along with likes, reactions to comments also include "the unique Christian Cross ‘Amen.’"
Last year, Andrew explained that “Facebook blocked 5 million people per month from my account alone, so I started USA.Life to give conservatives a social network that didn’t block their First Amendment right to free speech.”
On Wednesday, Twitter's censorship was mentioned during the House Judiciary Subcommittee's hearing on antitrust when Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg why the [Twitter] platform had temporarily suspended Donald Trump Jr.’s account. The suspension came after the president’s son shared a video of doctors talking favorably about hydroxychloroquine, a drug that some claim can cure the novel coronavirus, when used early in treatment along with zinc and Zithromax.
Zuckerberg said he had no desire to engage in censorship, but defended Twitter’s decision to suspend Trump Jr.'s Twitter account and remove the video holding up hydroxychloroquine as a cure for the novel coronavirus. “If someone is going to go out and say that hydroxychloroquine is proven to cure COVID when in fact it has not been proven to cure COVID, and that that statement could lead people to take a drug that, in some cases, some of the data suggests that it might be harmful to people, we think we should take that down,” he said.
Facebook has also faced multiple accusations of censorship from Christians, pro-life groups and everyday users.
The Christian Post reported last week that Facebook was censoring a Christian ministry's posts that shared the stories of people who once identified as LGBT before they chose to follow Christ. Facebook accused the ministry of promoting "conversion therapy."
Anne Paulk, president of Restored Hope Network, told CP that at the behest of the leftist Media Matters activist group, Facebook removed posts from their most recent conference, saying that the videos violated "community standards."
More than 100,000 people, churches, and businesses have already set up accounts at USA.Life. The company hopes to have more than 1 million users by the end of 2020. Unlike Facebook, which gives users a limit of 5,000 friends, USA.Life allows users to have up to 10,000 friends.
USA.Life is not the only alternative social media platform that has popped up in recent years. Parler, which has 2.7 million users, was founded two years ago by John Matze Jr. and Jared Thomson. Prominent users include Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Rand Paul, R-Ky., Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., pro-life activist Lila Rose, and the Trump 2020 campaign.
For their part, the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have denied allegations that they engage in censorship. During Wednesday's hearing on Capitol Hill, Zuckerberg vehemently denied the accusation that his company engages in censorship.
“We have distinguished ourselves as one of the companies that defends free expression the most,” he said. “We do not want to become the arbiters of truth. That would be a bad position for us to be in and not what we should be doing.”
As conservatives begin to embrace alternative social media sites such as Parler and USA.Life, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are working to hold the major tech companies accountable for their censorship. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., has introduced legislation that would strip social media companies, which claim to act as neutral platforms instead of publishers, of their special immunity from lawsuits if they do not act in “good faith” and stop censorship.
In addition to founding USA.Life, Andrew has founded 1776Free, an alternative search engine to Google. 1776Free’s crowdfunding page describes it as “the answer to Google and others censoring Christians, conservatives, patriotic speech, family values, and liberty.”