Culture

The MyPillow guy says he’s starting his own free speech social network

Haven't we heard this idea somewhere before?

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 15: MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell waits outside the West Wing of the White House before entering on January 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images

MyPillow CEO and longtime Trump ally Mike Lindell has a novel idea: create a social network where you can say what you’d like whenever you’d like with no fear of moderation. Lindell has been working on this idea for more than four years, he said last week on The Charlie Kirk Show.

“Every single influencer person on the planet can come there, you’re gonna have a platform to speak out,” Lindell said (h/t Insider for the transcription). “It’s not just like a little Twitter platform.”

Lindell does truly seem to believe his idea is a unique one, leaving us with more than a few questions. Most prominently: has this guy never heard of Parler? The alternative “free speech” social network has been around for a while now, and it recently came back online after a short hiatus. Other alt-networks like Gab are even more explicitly welcoming of a far-right user base.

Lindell was banned from Twitter back in January; his three-hour film about the “truth” of the 2020 presidential election was removed from all major social platforms last month, too.

On being canceled — Lindell spent most of his time on The Charlie Kirk Show raging about what he sees as “cancel culture” at work. He has spent the months since the election taking to various internet channels with what he truly seems to believe is evidence that the election results were rigged against Donald Trump. He said, for example, that Google “canceled” him by shutting down advertisements he had purchased through the company.

Overall, Lindell shows a stunning lack of understanding about how internet moderation works. Removing disinformation and calls for violence is not censorship — it is moderation necessary to protect users. Forgive us if we are not surprised by this deeply flawed understanding. It’s the same bad take we’ve seen on repeat, especially from alt-right internet users, for a very long time.

This…already exists — Lindell says his social network will most likely launch in the next four to five weeks, but that it could be ready to go in as few as 10 days. It’s a good thing the site is so close to launch, seeing as Lindell has already been pre-empted many times over by other social networking services like Parler. Good luck bringing in an audience, Mike.

The success or failure of Lindell’s social network probably isn’t his biggest concern, though; the MyPillow CEO is in the middle of a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit by Dominion, the company behind most voting machines. And he expects to lose about $65 million in revenue this year after 22 retailers stopped carrying his pillows.