Culture

MyPillow guy's 'free speech' network doesn't allow cursing

Mike Lindell's alt social network, Frank, opens for public use on Monday.

BEMIDJI, MN - SEPTEMBER 18: Mike Lindell (L), founder of My Pillow Inc., points to the crowd during a rally for President Donald Trump at the Bemidji Regional Airport on September 18, 2020 in Bemidji, Minnesota. Trump and challenger, Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden, are both campaigning in Minnesota today. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow and longtime friend of Donald Trump, has officially launched Frank, a free speech social network, for VIP access. And you are not allowed to post curse words, porn, or death threats. You heard that right: the social network predicated on the notion of free speech is blocking the word “fuck.”

Frank is ramping up for a full launch on April 19, at which point anyone will be able to create an account on the site. Right now frankspeech.com is just a static webpage containing a video of Lindell and a box where users can input their phone number for “VIP access.”

In a remarkable display of self-ignorance, Lindell’s new video continues pushing the message that Frank will be all about speaking your piece — “You’re not going to have to worry about what you’re saying,” he says — and then mentions that certain swear words, pornography, and death threats will be censored on the site.

“You don’t get to use the four swear words: the c-word, the n-word, the f-word, or God’s name in vain,” he says in the video. “Free speech is not pornography, free speech isn’t I’m gonna kill you.”

He’s ready for war — Lindell watched what went down with Parler and knows there’s going to be some pushback to his own take on the alt social network. He says in this new video that he’s spent millions of dollars (millions of dollars) on ramping up Frank’s security over the last few weeks because he expects it to be victim to plenty of cyberattacks.

He also knows much of Parler’s mess could’ve been avoided by achieving more independence. He has taken measures against that problem, too. “We’re going to be attacked, but I have my own servers and everything,” he says in the site’s intro video. “We’re not going to be worried about Amazon taking it down, or YouTube, or Google, or Apple.” (Why YouTube would have any hand in taking down Frank is unclear.)

This will be a mess — It’s obvious that Lindell’s ideas of free speech are… a little all over the place. He is fine with extremist content (and, in fact, hopes users will post it) but will not allow users to “take God’s name in vain” or pornographic content. The fine print on free speech, it seems, is totally up to Lindell’s worldview. That will make moderation tricky and, most likely, will not be pleasurable from a user experience point-of-view.

Speaking of which: we’re not entirely sure what to expect from Frank in terms of user interface. Lindell has been calling it a “YouTube-Twitter combination,” which is confusing, to say the least. “You’re going to have your own like YouTube channel, only that’s your Twitter handle,” he says calmly, as if the combination is the most obvious solution to our social media woes.

Overall, we’re expecting Frank to be nothing short of a mess. Lindell will livestream on both Monday and Tuesday of next week in what he’s calling a “Frankathon.”