'Free speech' Reddit clone Voat says it will shut down on Christmas - 2020-12-22
Voat, an "anti-censorship" alternative social network that's been described as the "alt-right Reddit," is scheduled to shut down on December 25th. Voat co-founder Justin Chastain announced the pending closure yesterday, saying the site had run out of money after an investor defaulted on their contract in March. "I personally decided to keep Voat up until after the US election of 2020. I've been paying the costs out of pocket but now I'm out of money," Chastain wrote.
Voat was founded in 2014 and hosted Reddit-like forums with minimal moderation. It grew rapidly after Reddit added an anti-harassment policy and banned five subreddits that it said violated the rules, including its infamous r/fatpeoplehate forum. The site set a model for other "censorship-free" alternatives to mainstream web platforms, a category that grew to include Gab, Parler, and the defunct crowdfunding site Hatreon.
While these sites often don't take an explicit political stance, they've attracted a largely far-right user base that's incensed by bigger networks' crackdowns. Voat also provided a home for the QAnon conspiracy movement after it was purged from most other platforms.