I had the opportunity to interview Chris Santos, the founder and CEO of Sayscape, a free speech alternative social media company. This is one of the social media platforms I’ve been using for while now, and genuinely enjoy the experience more than the other alternatives. Chris has caught my eye on social media lately as he has gone deeper into explaining the shady practices of Parler and other alternatives.
We began talking about solutions to Big Tech censorship. We talked about how repealing Section 230 was a bad idea, particularly because it would harm small tech. The obvious solution would be to for the government to stop protecting Big Tech under Section 230 when they are violating it, not removing it altogether. I explain how breaking up these companies, using antitrust law, would effectively be cutting off the head of a hydra. And this hydra would be aimed against small tech. We need new companies not smaller old ones.
Many conservatives believe that Parler is the answer to censorship on Twitter, but my Parler experience certainly tells me that this isn’t the case. On Parler, no one can really see your posts, unless you are an influencer. Chris explains how their algorithms boost influencers, like Twitter and Facebook do, which effectively shadow bans users.
What makes Sayscape a distinct platform is that Sayscape has a level playing field for all users. They do not boost influencers or pander to a certain audience. Unfortunately, this does not help them grow a platform. On Sayscape, they do not censor that which does not violate US law. Their private chat (DMs) are end to end encrypted. They also have a veterans and first responders chat for the purpose of making sure these individuals don’t feel isolated.
One of the topics we addressed was porn. Sayscape does not allow porn, and Chris was very resolute about that. Parler initially had the same position, but Chris explained that their algorithm could not handle the porn trolls, a threat Sayscape could face. But Chris was adamant that he would not pander to this community. I assure Chris that this doesn’t hurt Sayscape’s free speech credentials because porn isn’t speech.
Ultimately, this was a fun conversation that really explores what it takes to create a social media platform. Chris is an expert in software development and can point out where companies go wrong and how companies like TikTok operate. He can articulate how Big Tech companies create algorithms that censor people. He was even able to diagnose the issues with my Parler account in a way I could understand.
I have experimented with a number of small tech social media companies, and Sayscape has remained a personal favorite, and I would recommend this product to an audience asking where can they tell the truth when social media companies are trying to determine what is truth.