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Talking was billed as conservative Twitter. It is now a custodian for Hunter Biden’s political porn.

Conservative meme creator Benny Johnson took to Twitter in June with an announcement. After gathering hundreds of thousands of followers on the platform, he was done with it, having come to see Twitter as a “Communist Gulag Dumpster Fire.”

“10 years on Twitter”, Johnson tweeted. “I’m done. Disgusted with the censorship on this platform. Twitter is now so aggressively ANTI Free Speech, it’s no longer fun.”

After exposing his case, Johnson urged his fans to join Speak Out, the latest conservative social media network touting itself as an alternative to ‘free speech’ for Tories who believe social media giants are biased against them .

A few months later, however, Johnson also appears to be done with Speaking. And, don’t you know, he’s back in the communist gulag dumpster fire which is Twitter dot com. Johnson, the creative director of young conservative group Turning Point USA, hasn’t posted on Speak since August. But he still posts relentlessly on Twitter, tweeting eight times in just one hour on Tuesday.

Johnson’s abortive move to Speak came amid an outcry from Tories who alleged Twitter discriminated against them, citing a ban on Twitter from the self-proclaimed “Carpe Donktum” pro-Trump memesmith for copyright infringement. Like Johnson, many of these conservative influencers have threatened to take their social media skills elsewhere. And like Johnson again, many of those who touted Speaking as their next playground haven’t posted on the upstart social network in months.

Ric Grenell, former director of national intelligence for Trump, posted on Twitter about his Talk account in June, saying he was joining the site because “I believe in free speech, diversity and tolerance.” But Grenell hasn’t posted on Speak since August. Instead, he stuck with Twitter to pursue his favorite hobby of warning reporters at various media outlets about the quality of their work.

Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY), a Trumpworld star, joined Speak in June in a conservative discontent with Twitter. But he hasn’t posted on Speak since Aug. 28. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who said Talking would help “end Silicon Valley censorship” in June, has not posted on the site for nearly two weeks.

Lots of bold names on the right, including Fox News host Sean Hannity and the reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) still regularly post on Speak. And the site continues to attract new users. The Talking app ranked 10th in the Apple App Store on Tuesday.

But it’s hard not to see the failure of a mass movement of high profile users to materialize as a lost opportunity for the site. Having actively tried to build itself as a free speech-loving social media mecca, Parler has instead been used as a dumping ground for some of the most sinister content the internet has to offer. With the Conservatives insisting once again – this time at the end of the election – that Twitter is biased against them, Parler is no longer seen as a utopian alternative. Instead, this is where people are currently exchanging obscene images that are allegedly of Hunter Biden.

The potential problems with Tory’s widespread adoption of Talk were evident even in the heady days of June, when Trump supporters claimed the site could replace Twitter. The site was hampered by questions about its restrictive terms of service, which Parler eventually changed. Before being fired from the Trump campaign and approached by police in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Brad Parscale, then Trump campaign manager, spent much of his time on the site complaining about its lack of features, such as an inability to repost comments and a requirement that people must be logged into Speaking before reading posts on the site.

As A-list internet curators lost interest in Speaking, the site became a conspiracy theorists’ paradise. On Tuesday, a list of suggested topics on Talk included “#Pizzagate,” the conspiracy theory that inspired two violent attacks on a Washington pizza place. Promoters of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which imagines Donald Trump violently purging his enemies in the Democratic Party, have flocked to the site.

When the election season came to a close and the conservative media began pushing obscene and potentially incriminating emails from Hunter Biden, Speak became a natural repository for those pushing.

GNews, a Chinese-language website linked to Chinese billionaire dissident and Steve Bannon boss Guo Wengui, posted the footage for days. But they have struggled to gain traction with major social media, with Twitter automatically issuing temporary suspensions for accounts linked to certain GNews stories, citing rules against pornographic revenge. GNews therefore urged his fans to bring the footage to Talk.

“Comrades in battle are turning to new battlegrounds (sic) from platforms like Talk and Gab,” read an article on GNews on Tuesday.

The display of the images appears to violate Parler CEO John Matze’s insistence last June that Parler’s rules included a ban on pornography of all kinds. But obscene images, some of which depict explicit sexual acts, have flourished on the site. A GNews staff member closely linked to the images has more than 60,000 subscribers there, while another account dedicated to the publication of the images has 12,000 subscribers.

Matze did not respond to a request for comment.

Beyond a certain inconsistency in the rules, however, Parler may face bigger issues. After November, growing its user base can be more difficult when some of its more famous members quickly seem bored with the site.

Trump ally Tom Fitton, the leader of pro-Trump Judicial Watch, joined Speak in June, saying the site “was trying to draw a line against left-wing censorship.” But Fitton only published on Speak five times in October.

By comparison, Fitton tweeted 18 times on Tuesday alone.



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